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KANDINSKY IN PARIS 




KANDINSKY IN PARIS: 1934-1944 



KANDINSKY IN PARIS 

1934-1944 



This exhibition and catalogue are supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 
Additional funding for the exhibition has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. 



Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 



Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944. 

Kandinsky in Paris, 1934-1944. 

Exhibition catalogue. 

Bibliography: p. 158. 

Includes index. 

1. Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944 — Exhibitions. 
1. Concrete art — France — Paris — Exhibitions. 3. Art, 
Abstract — France — Paris — Exhibitions. I. Solomon R. 
Guggenheim Museum. II. Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. 
III. Title. 

N6999.K33A4 1985 76o'.09i'4 84-27617 

ISBN: 0-89107-049-8 



Kandinsky Society 

Claude Pompidou, President 

Dominique Bozo, Vice-President 

Thomas M. Messer, Vice-President 

Christian Derouet, Secretary 

Edouard Balladur 

Karl Flinker 

Jean-Claude Groshens 

Pontus Hulten 

Jean Maheu 

Werner Schmalenbach 

Armin Zweite 

t Hans K. Roethel 



Published by 

The Solomon K. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, 1985 
® The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, 1985 
(over: kandinsky, Sky Hlnc. March 1940 (cat. no. 116) 



The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 

HONORARY TRUSTE] S IN PERPETUITY 

Solomon R. Guggenheim, Justin K. Thannhauser, Peggy Guggenheim 

president Peter Lawson-Johnston 

vice president The Right Honorable Earl Castle Stewart 

trustees Carlo De Benedetti, Elaine Dannheisser, Michel David-Weill, Joseph W. Donner, Rohm 

Chandler Duke, Robert M. Gardiner, John S. Hilson. Harold W. McGraw, Jr., Wendy L-J. 
McNeil, Thomas M. Messer, Bonnie Ward Simon. Seymour Slive, Stephen C. Swid, 
Michael F. Wettach, William T. Ylvisaker 

advisory board Barrie M. Damson, Susan Morse Hilles, Morton L. Janklow, Barbara Jonas, Denise Saul, 
Hannelore Schulhof 

secretary-treasurer Theodore G. Dunker 

staff Aili Pontynen, Assistant Secretary; Joy N. Fearon. Assistant Treasurer 

director Thomas M. Messer 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 

deputy director Diane Waldman 

administrator William M. Jackson 

staff Vivian Endicott Barnett, Curator; Lisa Dennison, Susan B. Hirschfeld, Assistant Curators; 
Carol Fuerstein, Editor; Sonja Bay, Librarian; Ward Jackson, Archivist; Diana Murphy, 
Editorial Coordinator; Susan Hapgood, Nancy E. Spector, Curatorial Assistants 
Louise Averill Svendsen, Curator Emeritus 

Cherie A. Summers, Registrar; Jane Rubin, Associate Registrar; Guillermo Alonso, Assistant 
Registrar; Stephanie Stitt, Registrar's Coordinator; Saul Fuerstein, Preparator; William Smith, 
David M. Veater, Preparation Assistants; Pamela M. Cartmel, Technical Services Coordinator; 
Leni Potoff, Associate Conservator; Gillian McMillan, Assistant Conservator; Elizabeth 
Estabrook, Conservation Coordinator; Scott A. Wixon, Operations Manager; Tony Moore, 
Assistant Operations Manager; Takayuki Amano, Head Carpenter; David M. Heald, Pho- 
tographer; Myles Aronowitz, Assistant Photographer; Holly Fullam, Photography Coordinator 

Mimi Poser, Officer for Development and Public Affairs; Carolyn Porcelli, Ann Kraft, 
Development Associates; Richard Pierce, Public Affairs Associate; Elizabeth K. Lawson, 
Membership Associate; Deborah J. Greenberg, Public Affairs Coordinator; Linda Gering, 
Special Events Coordinator; Ann D. Garrison. Development Coordinator; Veronica Herman, 
Membership Assistant; Amy Sephora Pater, Public Affairs Assistant; Peter Meitzler, 
Computer Assistant 

Agnes R. Connolly, Auditor; Judy A. Ornstein, Accounting Assistant; Stefanie Levinson, Sales 
Manager; Robert Turner, Manager, Cafe and Catering; Maria Masciotti, Assistant Cafe 
Manager; Fred Lee, Assistant Cafe Manager-Kitchen Preparation; Katherine W. Briggs, 
Information; Christopher O'Rourke, Building Superintendent; Robert S. Flotz, Security 
Supervisor; Elbio Almiron, Marie Bradley, Assistant Security Supervisors II; John Carroll, 
Assistant Security Supervisor I 

Rebecca H. Wright, Jill Snyder, Administrative Assistants; Faith R. Schornick, 
Assistant to the Administrator 

life members Jean K. Benjamin, Mr. and Mrs. B. Gerald Cantor, Eleanor, Countess Castle Stewart, Mr. and 
Mrs. Barrie M. Damson, Mr. and Mrs. Werner Dannheisser, William C. Edwards, Jr., Mr. and 
Mrs. Andrew P. Fuller, Agnes Gund, Susan Morse Hilles, Mr. and Mrs. Morton L. Janklow, 
Mr. and Mrs. Donald L. Jonas, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Lawson-Johnston, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander 
Liberman, Elizabeth Hastings Peterfreund. Mrs. Samuel I. Rosenman, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew M. 
Saul, Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph B. Schulhof, Mrs. Evelyn Sharp, Mrs. Leo Simon, Mr. and Mrs. 
Stephen A. Simon, Sidney Singer, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Swid, Mrs. Hilde Thannhauser, 
Mr. and Mrs. Stephan S. Weisglass, Mr. and Mrs. Philip Zierler 

institutional patrons Alcoa Foundation, Atlantic Richfield Foundation. Exxon Corporation, Robert Wood Johnson 

Jr. Charitable Trust, Knoll International, Mobil Corporation, Philip Morris Incorporated 

National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, New York 
State Council on the Arts 



LENDERS TO THE EXHIBITION 



Anni Albers and the Josef Albers 
Foundation 

Fondation Arp, Clamart 

Archiv Baumeister, Stuttgart 

Max Bill, Zurich 

The Blue Rider Research Trust 

The Colin Collection, New York 

Collection Domela 

Lillian H. Florsheim Foundation for 
Fine Arts 

Mark Goodson, New York 

Latner Family Collection 

Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght 

Alberto and Susi Magnelli 

Megatrends, Limited 

Marina Picasso 

The Hilla von Rebay Foundation Archive 

Lawrence D. Saidenberg, New York 

Arnold A. Saltzman, New York 

Madame Schimek-Reichel, Paris 

Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 
Switzerland 

Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine, Meriden, 
Connecticut 

Association-Fondation Christian et 
Yvonne Zervos, Vezelay 



The Baltimore Museum of Art 

Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris 

Esbjerg Kunstforening, Esbjerg, Denmark 

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New 
York 

Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 
The Netherlands 

Kunstmuseum Basel 

Kunstmuseum Bern 

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 
Diisseldorf 

Gabriele Miinter-und Johannes Eichner- 
Stiftung, Stadtische Galerie im Lenbach- 
haus, Munich 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris 

Musee National Fernand Leger, Biot 

Musee National du Louvre, Paris 

Musee de Vallauris, France 

Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, 
Rotterdam 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York 

The Museum of Modern Art, Seibu 
Takanawa 

Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna 

Philadelphia Museum of Art 

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. 

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart 

Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen 

American Literature, The Beinecke Rare 
Book and Manuscript Librar), Yale 
University 



Galerie Beyeler, Basel 
Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris 
Davlyn Gallery, New York 
Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



9 Preface and Acknowledgements Thomas M. Messer 

11 Kandinsky in Paris: 1934-1944 Christian Derouet 

61 Kandinsky and Science: The Introduction of Biological Images 
in the Paris Period Vivian Endicott Barnett 

S9 Catalogue 

252 Chronology 

2.58 Selected Bibliography 

264 Index of Artists in the Catalogue 

265 Photographic Credits 



Christian Derouefs essay was translated by Eleanor Levieux 



PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 



Kandinsky in Paris completes a tripartite project that began in 1982 with 
Kandinsky in Munich and continued in 1983 with Kandinsky: Russian and 
Banbaus Years. Together, the three exhibitions and their accompanying 
catalogues constitute what is certainly the most extensive investigation in 
exhibition form of Kandinsky's lifework and beyond this probably one of the 
most far-reaching probes ever undertaken with respect to a twentieth- 
century master. Few artists in modern times could sustain so relentless an 
analysis, and the method applied here does not, therefore, lend itself to easy 
reapplication. For, in addition to the great quantity and quality of Kandin- 
sky's oeuvre and the importance of his contacts with contemporaries, there 
is in his case the somewhat unusual circumstance of a life divided into sep- 
arate phases, each of which is linked to an artistic style that has its own 
clearly recognizable attributes. 

Thus, the Munich period culminates in the first abstract expressionist 
paintings which differ visibly from the abstract constructivist works fully 
developed by Kandinsky at the Bauhaus— a development that would remain 
inexplicable but for the stylistic transition that took place while Kandinsky 
weathered the war and postwar years in pre- and post-Revolutionary Russia. 
The break between his work of Weimar and Dessau and that of his last years 
in Paris, which is the subject of the current effort, if less marked, is neverthe- 
less easily perceived by the attentive viewer. Like the earlier transition, it is 
the result of complex internal and external factors that are at least partially 
subject to analysis and demonstration. 

The Guggenheim, largely for historical reasons noted in the catalogues 
of the previous installments of this project, assumes an inimitable position 
among American museums with respect to Kandinsky. The strength of its 
own collection is paralleled only by those of Munich's Stadtische Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus and the Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pom- 
pidou in Paris. Its pioneering history as it relates to Kandinsky and abstract 
art in general has provided the Guggenheim with the well-nigh unchallenge- 
able claim to primacy in the execution of the Vasily Kandinsky trilogy. Such 
an assessment does not in any sense reduce the originating institution's de- 
pendence upon the above-named sister institutions and upon many other 
museums, galleries and individuals, without whose generous readiness to 
participate none of the three Kandinsky chapters could have been written. 
As in the earlier Kandinsky catalogues, lenders to the exhibition are listed 
separately. Although our gratitude is expressed to them collectively herewith, 



9 



it is nevertheless directed to each and every one of them. In addition we ex- 
tend our special thanks to Dominique Bozo and Germain Viatte, Musee 
National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, for their major 
loans. We wish to single out the following lenders for their exceptional gen- 
erosity: Mme Arp and Greta Stroh, Fondation Arp, Clamart; Max Bill; Pierre 
Bruguiere; Dr. Christian Geelhaar, Kunstmuseum Basel; Anne d'Harnon- 
court, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Jean-Francois Jaeger, Galerie Jeanne 
Bucher, Paris; Christian Limousin, Association-Fondation Christian et 
Yvonne Zervos, Vezelay; Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght; Susi Magnelli; Dr. 
Werner Schmalenhach, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Diisseldorf; 
Dr. Hans Christoph von Tavel, Kunstmuseum Bern; and Dr. Armin Zweite, 
Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich. 

Basic to the organization of the threefold exhibition sequence was a 
working pattern that would correspond to the existing continuity as well as 
distinctions that mark the periods in Kandinsky's art. Throughout this cycle 
specialized guest curators therefore have worked more closely with the 
Guggenheim's curatorial staff than normally would be the case. In the current 
instance Christian Derouet was charged with the conceptualization and the 
selection of the exhibition, as well as with the authorship of the principal 
essay for this catalogue. Mr. Derouet is a curator at the Centre Pompidou 
whose special responsibility is the documentation and publication of infor- 
mation on Nina Kandinsky's bequest to his museum. His unequalled access 
to material on Kandinsky's Paris years and his deep involvement with the 
same subject made him the obvious choice for the project's closing etape. 
Mr. Derouet received essential help in executing his task from Jean K. Ben- 
jamin, Jessica Boissel and Christiane Rojouan of the Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Paris, Cesar Domela, Jean Helion, Richard Mortensen and Mines 
Ivanov and Koustnetzoff. As was the case with his predecessors in this series, 
Mr. Derouet was ably and extensively supported by highly qualified Mu- 
seum Staff members. This assistance was extended primarily but not ex- 
clusively by Curator Vivian Endicott Barnett, as the Project Coordinator; 
Assistant Curator Susan B. Hirschfeld, as Exhibition Coordinator; and Carol 
Fuerstein, in her capacity as the Guggenheim's Editor, all of whom, thanks 
to their analogous involvement in all three installments, made valuable and 
determinative contributions to the Ka>idi>isky in Paris exhibition. Mrs. Bar- 
nett has also enriched the catalogue by writing a searching essay. The follow- 
ing Staff members are also thanked for their assistance: Diana Murphy, 



10 



Editorial Coordinator, Lewis Kachur and Nancy Spector, Curatorial As- 
sistants. 

A gesture of appreciation on this occasion should be extended to my col- 
leagues serving as members of the Kandinsky Society— an organization cre- 
ated by the late Nina Kandinsky to assume responsibility for the safeguarding 
of her husband's spiritual legacy. The current show, indeed the threefold 
exhibition and series of publications as a whole, enjoyed the moral support 
of the Society and of its President Mme Claude Pompidou. 

It would be unthinkable to conclude an undertaking of such magnitude 
without stressing the enabling part played by sponsors. The large sums of 
money required nowadays for the realization of major museum shows and 
publications have long since outstripped the financial capacities of most 
originating museums. It is a pleasure, therefore, to acknowledge here the key 
support received from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which, 
in sponsoring Kandinsky in Paris, has assumed such burdens for the second 
time within the Vasily Kandinsky sequence. The Humanities grant, in keeping 
with that federal agency's special purposes, has been directed toward the 
catalogue and other interpretative aspects of the exhibition, while the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts, which provided a grant for the second show 
in our series, has once again generously given much needed support for the 
exhibition. To these federal agencies I take pleasure in extending the deeply 
felt gratitude of the Guggenheim's Trustees and Staff. 

Lastly, it should be noted here that, although the Solomon R. Guggen- 
heim Museum originated the three exhibitions devoted to Kandinsky's life- 
work, the public range of the project extended far beyond the presentations 
that opened in New York. No fewer than eight major museums in five differ- 
ent countries will have shared parts of the cycle with us by the conclusion 
of the present show, and it is a pleasure, therefore, to salute Peter C. Marzio, 
Director, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Dieter Ronte, Director, 
Museum des zo. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, who, in presenting Kandinsky in 
Paris will importantly enlarge the scale and scope of the exhibition. 

THOMAS M. messer, Director 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 



KANDINSKY IN PARIS: 1934-1944 



Christian Derouet 



I would particularly like to thank all those 
who made it possible for me to work on 
this subject and helped me earn - out my 
research. In 1979, after Kandinsky, trente 
tableaux des musees sovietiques was pre- 
sented at the Musee National d'Art Mod- 
erne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 
(MNAM), I had the good fortune to un- 
dertake specific research into certain as- 
pects of Kandinsky's years in Paris, with 
the blessing and assistance of Nina Kan- 
dinsky. She very generously lent me books 
and archives so that I could photocopy 
them, and she wrote letters of recommen- 
dation to facilitate my reconstruction of 
Kandinsky's correspondence. She took keen 
interest in the compilation of the catalogue 
of Kandinsky's works in the MNAM col- 
lection, a project broken off and deferred 
by tragic circumstances. Despite all of its 
flaws, this essay is a tribute to the warm 
and constructive reception Nina Kandin- 
sky gave everyone who shared her admira- 
tion for her husband's work. 

My thanks go to Thomas M. Messer for 
his faith in my ability to deal with the 
Pans period, for his understanding and pa- 
tience while this essay was in preparation, 
to Vivian Endicott Barnett and Susan B. 
Hirschfeld, both of whom so painstakingly 
organized this exhibition, and to Carol 
Fuerstein for her thoughtful editing of the 
catalogue. I am grateful to Dominique 
Bozo for allowing me to carry out this task 
along with my duties at MNAM, where I 
had the benefit of friendly assistance and 
encouragement from Jessica Boissel, Olga 
Makhroff and Christiane Rojouan. And. 
finally, I am indebted to two of my former 
mentors — Jacques Thuillier, professor at 
the College de France, and Francis Haskell, 
professor of the history of art at Oxford 
University— for the inspiration for this es- 
say, which has more to do with history 
than with aesthetics. 



Kandinsky hi Munich: 1896-1914 (significantly, the exhibition was not en- 
titled Kandinsky and Munich) showed how splendid the artistic life of the 
Bavarian capital was in its twilight period and revealed how European paint- 
ing discovered abstraction. Kandinsky: Russian and Bauhaus Years, 1915- 
1933 attempted not so much to appraise Kandinsky's role in the Russian cul- 
tural revolution as to show what enormous influence he wielded over the 
Bauhaus, that astonishing school of decorative arts and legitimate pride of 
the Weimar Republic. Ka>idinsky in Paris: 1934-1944 covers the last decade 
in a lifetime of adventure in the arts. It is Kandinsky's least-known and least- 
popular decade, the final chapter in the biography of an artistic genius who 
has left his mark on the twentieth century. As a last step in evaluating what 
Kandinsky did or did not do, we must weigh in the balance what Paris owes 
to him and what he extracted from the Parisian art-world of the 1930s. 

How important were those years, extending from the start of the De- 
pression, in 1929, to the beginning of the German Occupation? It has often 
been said that artistic life in Paris at that time was lifeless or at best dozing, 
that a few giants harking back to a timeworn avant-garde— the Cubists— cast 
a long shadow over all attempts at other forms of expression, that only 
Surrealism was able to lay claim to a few innovations. For over twenty years 
the museums of France upheld that view and entrenched it: today it is being 
thoroughly revised. The 1930s may have been a confused grab bag of aesthet- 
ics, but they were not a vacuum. Interest in them has recently revived, if only 
because many of the ideas that seem important to us today echo that recent 
past: we are witnessing a return to figurative art, arguing about what the 
relationship between art and politics can or should be, asking whether art 
should be socially committed, coming to the end of abstract art and going 
beyond it. 1 Half a century later, we are getting used to the 1930s again. Not 
long ago we decreed that those gray years were beyond recovery; today we 
linger over them gladly. 

Braque's late painting, very much "in the French manner," arouses in- 
terest; selections from Picasso's last works draw the masses like a magnet; 
recent articles on the products of Mondrian's New York years have praised 
them to the skies. Even what seemed unthinkable a few years ago has been 
achieved: de Chirico's last paintings, those from 1920 until his death in 1978, 
have been rehabilitated. So it has become fashionable to listen to the great 
masters' swan songs and abandon the idea of the avant-garde in art history. 
In tins context we can scrutinize the output of Kandinsky's last ten years, and 



12 



take a closer look at what little the critics have said about it. They generally 
dismiss the last decade as a period of only secondary importance, a phase that 
we can skip even if we wish to grasp his work as a whole. Clement Green- 
berg, for instance, disposed of it in these terms: 

There is a great variety of manner, motif, scheme and configuration in 
Kandinsky's later works, but it is a mechanical variety, ungoverned by 
style or by the development of style. The works in themselves remain 
fragments, and fragments of fragments, whose ultimate significance is 
mostly in what they allude to: peasant design, East European color, Klee, 
the world of machinery— and in the fact that they contain almost nothing 
spurious. Kandinsky may have betrayed his gifts but he did not falsify 
them, and his honesty, at his own as well as art's expense, is utterly 
unique. For this reason alone if for no other, we shall have to go on 
reckoning with him as a large phenomenon if not as a large artist. 2 



i. Concerning the historical context, see 
Jean-Pierre Azema, De Munich a la 
liberation, 193S-1944, Paris, 1979, and 
Henri Dubief, he Declin de la troi- 
sieme republique (1919-1918), Paris, 
1976. Concerning the artistic context, 
see L'Art face a la crise: L'Art en 
Occident 1929-1939, Saint-Etienne, 
1980; Paris 1937-Paris 1957: creations 
en France, exh. cat., Paris, 1981; 
Cahiers du Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, no. 9, 1982, special issue 
devoted to above exhibition; although 
it concerns Paris only indirectly, see 
also Serge Guilbaut, Hoiv New York 
Stole the Idea of Modern Art, Ab- 
stract Expressionism, Freedom and 
the Cold VTjr, Chicago, 1983. 

1. Clement Greenberg, Art and Culture: 
Critical Essays, Boston, 1961, p. 113. 

3. Hans K. Roethel in collaboration 
with Jean K. Benjamin. Kandinsky, 
New York, 1979, p. 15. 



This is a double-edged judgement: it singles out an artist's approach 
and elevates it to the rank of a moral example, yet it looks dubiously at a 
type of painting that American critics of the 1950s may not have been pre- 
pared to understand. During that period, American Abstract Expressionism 
was their darling, and their attitude was a sign of the times. Hans Konrad 
Roethel, a German scholar of the same generation, was one of those re- 
sponsible for the founding of the Gabriele Miinter- und Johannes Eichner- 
Stiftung in Munich and devoted his life to studying Kandinsky's work— yet 
he wrote relatively little on Kandinsky's final decade. 

He got around the problem by quoting the painter's last writings, the 
last positions he took, and merely raised the issue of continuity, asking what 
thread ran through Kandinsky's lifetime output: ". . . what kind of harmony 
could link the early landscapes and Art Nouveau works, with their contem- 
plation of the past; the expressionistic abstractions completed before World 
War I; the geometric constructions of the Bauhaus period; and the cool, 
cryptic conjurations of Paris?" 3 The two adjectives he uses, "cool" (that is, 
devoid of sensitivity) and "cryptic" (meaningless, or hard to understand), 
grossly underestimate Kandinsky's Parisian period. 

Will Grohmann also dodged the issue. From 1923 on he was one of Kan- 
dinsky's close friends and his champion, responsible for all of the important 
writings; Kandinsky imposed him on the Paris critics. In the monograph on 



13 



4. Vassily Kandinsky, "La Valeur d'une 
oeuvre concrete," XXe Siecle, vol. i, 
no. 5-6, Winter-Spring 1939, pp. 48-50, 
translated as "The Value of a Concrete 
Work" in Kenneth C. Lindsay and 
Peter Vergo, eds., Kandinsky: Com- 
plete Writings on Art, Boston, 1981, 
vol. II, p. 827. 

5. Gaetan Picon, "Symbols and Masks" 
in Kandinsky, Parisian Period, 1934- 
1944, exh. cat., New York, 1969, 
pp. 7-14. 

6. Michel Conil Lacoste, Kandinsky, 
New York, 1979, p. 82: "It is his most 
controversial period, and it is remark- 
able that it has never been whole- 
heartedly accepted by even fervent 
admirers of the earlier works, who find 
it difficult to see in it any connections 
with what went before. The large num- 
ber of names which have been given to 
the style perhaps reflect the conflicting 
feelings it has aroused . . . ." 

7. Andre Breton, "Some Appreciations 
of the Work of Wassily Kandinsky" 
in Wassily Kandinsky, exh. cat., Lon- 
don, 1938. Breton's twenty-two-line 
preface for the catalogue for the show, 
which opened at Guggenheim Jeune 
on Feb. 17, 1938, was translated by 
Samuel Beckett, according to Peggy 
Guggenheim's letter to Kandinsky 
dated Feb. 15, 1938: "Mr. Beckett, 
who has done all of the other trans- 
lations, and who will send it to 

you . . . ." The letters to Kandinsky 
cited in these notes are preserved 
in the Kandinsky Archive, MNAM. 

8. Frank Stella, "Complexite simple- 
Ambigui'te" in Kandinsky: Album de 
I'e.xposition, exh. cat., Paris, 1984, 
pp. 84-90. 

9. Will Grohmann, Kandinsky, New 
York, 1958, pp. 246-247: "Kandinsky 
continued working until March 1944, 
then he fell ill. Nine months later, at 

8 p.m. on December 13, he died. The 
cause of death was sclerosis of the 
cerebellum .... He was buried in the 
cemetery in Neuilly, only a few per- 
sons being present at the funeral. 
On the large stone slab that covers 
his grave appear these words only: 
'Wassily Kandinsky, 1866-1944.'" 
Burial is in the Cimetiere nouveau de 
Neuilly, rue Vimy, Nanterre, i6e 
division, serie 53, tombe no. 5. 

10. Kandinsky's correspondence fre- 
quently has to do with money. In 
France the connection between money 
and art is considered not quite decent. 
Kandinsky can easily be excused for 
talking about money at such length in 
his letters because he had to fight a 
hard battle in order to earn any in 
Paris. Not one Paris dealer wanted to 



Kandinsky he was asked to write in 1958, he did not dwell on the Paris years, 
and acknowledged that he did not understand them very clearly. He bran- 
dished the idea of synthesis, which he borrowed from Kandinsky's last writ- 
ings. In "La Valeur d'une oeuvre concrete," Kandinsky urges once again that 
the distinctions between knowledge and art, and between one art and another, 
be removed. He notes that "the vast wall between art and science is totter- 
ing" and that the time has come for "the Great Synthesis." 4 Grohmann is 
only too happy to follow suit, and lumps together the idea of synthesis with 
that of "serenity" and "wisdom"— qualities always credited to ageing gen- 
iuses by their worshipful biographers. 

Few French critics have written anything about Kandinsky lately. They 
have felt called upon to defend his Parisian period, but none of them is an 
historian, or has the training in aesthetics of the German critics. They are all 
brilliant preface-writers, used to drafting a few short paragraphs for some 
exhibition or other. All of them question Grohmann's idea of "synthesis." 
In an essay entitled "Symbols and Masks," Gaetan Picon— a veritable ration- 
alistic doubting Thomas— very skillfully puts down Kandinsky's so-called 
synthesis and serenity.'' Michel Conil Lacoste, however, in his Kandinsky, 
takes a less gingerly approach to the problem of the Parisian period and 
quite frankly lists all the doubts voiced about it. 6 Like Greenberg, the French 
litterateurs actually emphasize Kandinsky's moral qualities so as to avoid 
discussing his painting. Andre Breton set the example in 1938, when he was 
asked to produce a preface for the Kandinsky show Peggy Guggenheim or- 
ganized in London; he paid more attention to Kandinsky's gaze than to the 
paintings on exhibit: "His admirable eye, merging with his faint veil of glass 
to form perfect crystal lights up with the sudden iridescent glitter of quartz. It 
is the eye of one of the first and one of the greatest revolutionaries of vision." 7 

Why all of this beating about the bush? It actually sheds light on one of 
the difficulties inherent in Kandinsky's career: his work is the work of a 
stateless man, uprooted repeatedly and forced again and again to find a new 
public and new critics each time. The German critics turned away from him 
as soon as he settled in France, and the French critics have had trouble giving 
their stamp of approval to the final years of an artist whose impact is rooted 
in Germanic culture. Even today we can feel the consequences of the critics' 
disarray: whereas a number of doctoral theses have covered the Munich and 
Bauhaus periods, the Paris period has stimulated no such study and so has 
not been properly evaluated. 

This catalogue has a mission, therefore, to fill a bibliographical void. 
Our first aim is to provide the historical background necessary for situating 
Kandinsky's Paris period and measuring its influence. We will not attempt 
to look beyond the limits defined by the dates 1934 to 1944 and see how 
Kandinsky's final works affected Art hiformel in Paris or Abstract Expres- 
sionism in New York. We merely note— with some satisfaction— that an artist 
such as Frank Stella has attempted, in recent lectures at Harvard and in a 
commentary on Complexite simple (Complex-Simple), to reevaluate Kan- 
dinsky's Parisian period." 



14 



handle him. Therefore, he was his 
own dealer and refused to sell for low 
prices even though his market had 
collapsed in Germany. When he ar- 
rived in Paris, no specific value was 
attached to his works. On Apr. n, 
1933, at a sale at the Hotel Drouot for 
the benefit of Ciihiers d'Art, a Kan- 
dinsky watercolor of 1913 sold for the 
same price as a banal watercolor by 
Raoul Dufy. In a letter to Christian 
Zervos dated Feb. 24, 1933, Kandinsky 
wrote about his future prices: "You 
told me I could align my prices ac- 
cording to Leger's, more or less." He 
did so, and seldom sold any large 
paintings. But the decision was vital. 
Letter from Kandinsky to Grohmann 
dated Aug. 6, 1935: "My exhibition 
here at the Cahiers [d'Art] was inaugu- 
rated on June 21 I stood firm and 

refused to lower my prices Two 

years ago I lowered them by 50% and 
I will not go lower." Peggy Guggen- 
heim wrote mockingly, "No one 
looked less like an artist than Kan- 
dinsky, who resembled a Wall Street 
broker." Out of This Century: Con- 
fessions of an Art Addict, New York, 
1979, p. 170. But gradually Kandinsky 
won his battle; in a letter to Hans Arp 
dated July 28, 1942, Kandinsky wrote: 
"I've been having a show at the 
Galerie Jeanne Bucher since July 21. 
It was very sad that you weren't at the 
opening; the show is going satisfac- 
torily, even favorably. You remember 
that business about prices, my dear 
Arp. Now I know that I was right; 
they really have gone up 30% or 
40%." Letters to Zervos cited in these 
notes are preserved in private collec- 
tions; those to Grohmann are in the 
Archiv Will Grohmann, Staatsgalerie 
Stuttgart; and those to Arp are in the 
Archives of the Fondation Arp, 
Clamart, France. 
11. Kandinsky's half-nephew, Aleksandr 
Kozhevnikov (1902-68), changed his 
name to Alexandre Kojeve once he 
was naturalized a French citizen in 
1937. Educated in German universi- 
ties, he taught at the Ecole Pratique 
des Hautes-Etudes in Paris (where he 
replaced Alexandre Koyre) and there 
introduced the practice of reading 
Hegel's philosophical works. Among 
his students were Georges Bataille, 
Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Ray- 
mond Queneau. Urged by his stu- 
dents, Editions Gallimard in Paris are 
publishing Kojeve's courses as Essai 
d'une histoire raisonnce de la philoso- 
phie paienne. During the German 
Occupation of France, Kojeve fled to 
Marseilles where, in 1943, he wrote 
Esquisse d'une phenomenologie du 
droit. 



A simple set of facts will help us grasp the essential ambiguity of those 
years. Born of Russian parents in Moscow in [866, Kandinsky died a French 
citizen, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a Paris suburb, in 1944. He is buried, not in the 
shade of the chestnut trees that line the street he lived on in Neuilly (see cat. 
no. 16), nor in the Bois or Bagatelle park (see cat. no. 18), where he went 
walking every day, but in the new Neuilly cemetery, an enclave within the city 
limits of Nanterre, hemmed in by superhighways and the skyscrapers of the 
new Defense district. 9 



Sources 

This essay is based on widely varying but specific sources. It does not have 
to rely on the sort of supposition to which art history is all too often reduced: 
"Kandinsky doubtless saw such and such, Kandinsky must certainly have 
read this or that." But we do not claim that our interpretation of the material 
available is necessarily the best. 

The Kandinsky Archive at the Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou in Paris is now being classified. It includes manuscripts, 
a record of the artist's correspondence, press cuttings, his famous Handlists 
(Hattskataloge), the books that were in his library in Paris, samples of the 
materials he used, hundreds of drawings and sketchbooks from which we 
can reconstitute at least to some extent the process that led to the finished 
paintings of this period. 

The Archive also contains the letters Kandinsky received; as we would 
expect of an artist of his age and talent, there are numerous letters from his 
dealers settling the details of sales and exhibitions. 10 There are fewer letters 
from fellow artists, but they do testify warmly to the relationships Kandinsky 
managed to establish in a new setting and in the relatively short period of 
six years, 1933 to 1939. Few letters from abroad are here, of course, since 
the war made it impossible, or at best extremely difficult, to receive mail 
from outside the country. As for the artists who lived in Paris, they of course 
did not write; they telephoned, and hardly any trace remains of their calls. 
There are only two letters from Hans Arp, for instance, but the telephone 
bills show that phone calls from Meudon were frequent. The collection of 
snapshots includes few group pictures and is of only middling interest with 
regard to the period of 1933 to 1944. Some minute prints are mementos of an 
excursion made to Varengeville, in Normandy, in 1939, while Kandinsky was 
visiting Joan Miro; the other photographs shed little light on Kandinsky's 
contacts with artists. 

In addition to Kandinsky's correspondence with Josef Albers, Katherine 
Dreier, Grohmann, Hilla Rebay, Paul Klee, Hermann Rupf and Hans Thie- 
mann, with which students are already familiar, there are reconstituted col- 
lections of more specifically Parisian letters: the correspondence in Russian 
between the painter and his nephew, Alexandre Kojeve, a philosophy pro- 
fessor at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes-Etudes in Paris; 11 between Kandinsky 
and Christian Zervos, who edited Cahiers d'Art; between Kandinsky and 
Andre Dezarrois, curator of the Musee des Ecoles Etrangeres at the Jeu de 



15 



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2, RUE DES BEAUX-ARTS 
PRESENTE DU 2 AU 14 MAI 
DES CEUVRES RECENTES DE 



ARP 

FERREN 

GIACOMETTI 

HARTUNG 

HELION 

KANDINSKY 

NELSON 

PAALEN 

TAEUBER-ARP 



fig. I 

Invitation and guest hook from first 

Kandinsky exhibition at Galerie Jeanne 

Bucher, Paris, 1936 

Courtesy Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris 

fig. z 

Brochure for group exhibition at Pierre 
Loeb's Galerie Pierre, Paris, 1936 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



1 2.. Jeanne Bucher ran a small gallery 
which attracted the most important 
artists— Cubists, Surrealists, abstract 
painters— between 1925 and 1946. 
With the kind cooperation of Jean- 
Francois Jaeger, director of the gal- 
lery, Marie Blanche Pouradier-Duteil 
and 1 have undertaken to reconstitute 
Jeanne Bucher's archives. This re- 
search has been very helpful in 
verifying certain theories concerning 
the way Kandinsky's work was re- 
ceived in Paris between the two 
world wars. 

1 \. Nina Kandinsky, Kandinsky et mot, 
Paris, 1978. 

14. Pierre I neb, Voyages a tr.tiins la pein- 
tare, Paris, r.945. This book consists 

11 ites the art dealer wrote in Cuba, 
where he lived during World War II. 



Paume; between Kandinsky and Pierre Bruguiere, an art collector. All of 
these are valuable sources; from them we learn about the painter's daily life 
in the Paris of the 1930s, about what he thought of the opening of this show 
and that, about the exhibitions he attended. What Kandinsky does not often 
write about, unfortunately, is his own work. 

The information we find in his correspondence about events of only 
everyday importance is borne out by other archives— for instance, the letters 
from the painter Jean Helion to the art collector Albert Gallatin, preserved 
at The New York Historical Society; or the correspondence (now in the 
process of being compiled) of the Galerie Jeanne Bucher, where Kandinsky 
exhibited from 1936 to 1944 (fig. i). 12 These scattered writings convey the 
tone of that period. His widow's memoirs, Kandinsky et mot, provide the 
links, and let us see how she and her husband lived in Paris from day to day; 
Nina Kandinsky frequently quotes from the Kandinsky-Grohmann letters— 
without always showing where her quotes begin and end." 

Pierre Loeb wrote a marvelous series of verbal portraits and an essay 
entitled "Ou va la peinture?," included in Voyages a travers la peinture. 
Although he did not discuss Kandinsky as such, these pieces constitute one 
of the best (and also one of the most elliptical) introductions to life in the 
Paris art world in the period between the two world wars (fig. z). u The mate- 
rial available at the Fondation Arp in Clamart and at the Fondation Christian 
et Yvonne Zervos in Vezelay also makes us feel the spirit of the times. 

Settling Down in Paris 

The accidents of history brought Vasily and Nina Kandinsky to Paris. The 
Bauhaus in Berlin had closed. Kandinsky rightly felt threatened by the Nazi 
dictatorship. Leaving Germany for Paris was, for him, a veritable exile, even 
though he had been wooing the Paris market for a while (he had shown in 



16 



i8 



19 



The exhibitions were Paris, Galerie 
Zak. Wassily Kandinsky (watercol- 

ors), Jan. 15-31, 192.9, and Paris, 
Galerie de France, Kandinsky, Mar. 
14-31, 19^0; the monograph. Will 
Grohmann, Kandinsky, Paris, 193 1, 
the sixth in the series Les Grands 
peintres d'aujourd'hui, published by 
Editions des Cahiers d'Art. 

Nina Kandinsky, pp. 171, 174, 181. 
In a letter to Zervos dated Apr. 3, 
1933, Kandinsky wrote: "But it is 
easier to say, 'once we're in Paris,' 
than to actually go there." 

In a letter to Grohmann dated Feb. 
I 5, I 939- Kandinsky said he was 
happy to have heard a Bavarian radio 
program and to have understood it 
all; he preferred the Bavarian dialect 
and listened frequently to the German 
radio. 

The replies of both Chagall and Kan- 
dinsky to an inquiry by Maurice 
Raynal and E. Teriade regarding the 
similarities between 1830 and 1930 
were published in L'lntransigeant, 
Dec. 2, 1929, p. 5. 

In 1929 Colonna di Cesaro began to 
translate On the Spiritual in Art into 
Italian. In 1934 he wrote a preface for 
the translation, discussed in a letter to 
Kandinsky dated Nov. 19, 1934. 

Paris, Galerie des "Cahiers d'Art," 
Kandinsky, peintures de toutes les 
epoques, aquarelles ft dessins, May 
23-June 23, 1934, organized by 
Yvonne Zervos. 

Letter from Kandinsky to Kojeve 
dated May 12, 1934. Letters to Kojeve 
cited in these notes were provided by 
Mme Nina Ivanov and Mme Koust- 
netzoff, who also supplied their 
French translations. 

The Russian metropolitan church of 
Paris, Alexandre Nevski, rue Daru, 
Paris 8e. 



two small galleries in 192.9 and 1930) and was not unknown in France; 
Cahiers d'Art had published a monograph on his work in 1931. 15 But Kan- 
dinsky feared the stress of Parisian life, an agitation unknown in his remote 
and verdant Berlin suburb. Their decision to emigrate was shaped by the 
Reichstag fire, the threats of physical violence and the xenophobic slogans, 
and one of Hitler's harangues. Nina Kandinsky explained in her memoirs, 
Kandinsky et moi: "In July 1933 we went to the area near Toulon, in France, 
for our summer vacation. Early in September we spent some time in Paris 
and it was at the Hotel des Saints-Peres that we heard Hitler's speech. ... A 
few days later we had lunch with Marcel Duchamp. . . . When we went back 
to Berlin we had the lease and our identification papers with us. . . . On Janu- 
ary 2, 1934, our apartment was finished and ready for us to move into. Our 
furniture arrived in Paris that day." But she immediately added, "When we 
moved ... we intended to spend only a year in Paris, to begin with, and then 
return to Germany. . . . We thought about it for a long time, wondering 
whether it might not be be better to go to Switzerland, Italy or America." 16 

So the Kandinskys' arrival in Paris was only halfhearted. 17 As far as the 
French administration and the bourgeoisie were concerned, they were emi- 
grants, driven out by the new German regime. As far as the avant-garde of 
the French art world was concerned, they were victims of a dictatorship that 
had expelled modern art from its museums. As their new acquaintances 
had other linguistic backgrounds, they gradually stopped speaking German. 18 
Only Jeanne Bucher, Arp, Cesar Domela and a few others knew how to speak 
it. Kandinsky was amused when he attended the openings of Paris art shows 
to hear such a Babel-like blend of Russian, German, English and French. 
His French was good, and he used it to communicate with the English and 
Americans, the Spaniards and the Italians. 

In Paris Kandinsky regained his Russian identity. The French did not pay 
much attention to his German passport; they considered him Russian, or at 
least Germanified Russian. For that one reason the art journalists fell into 
the habit of linking him with Marc Chagall, who had an unshakeable repu- 
tation in the art world of the period. 19 Kandinsky even had to remind his 
Italian translator, Colonna di Cesaro, that Chagall never belonged to the 
Blaite Reiter. 2 " 

When the time came to open his first show in Paris, Kandinsky invited 
the Russian emigre colony of Paris. 21 He asked Kojeve to find out several 
addresses, including Stravinsky's." But he was soon disenchanted by the 
welcome he received from those members of the colony who frequented the 
Russian church on the rue Daru;- 5 they appreciated old, familiar styles of 
painting and were not prepared to understand his abstract works. Alexandre 
Benois, painter, former designer for the Ballets Russes and an important 
critic for the Russian-language newspapers in Paris, expressed his unequiv- 
ocal disapproval of the works Kandinsky exhibited at the Galerie Jeanne 
Bucher in 1936: 

Allow me to be altogether sincere. Yesterday I went to see your show, 
I looked at everything very carefully, and I came away convinced that I 



17 



fig- 3 

Kandinsky's notebook with Russian- 
French vocabulary 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





r 










- 




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- 














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14. Letter from Benois (1870 [St. Peters- 
burg]— 1960 [Paris]), to Kandinsky, in 
Russian, dated Dec. 8, 1936. Several 
drawings by Benois were acquired by 
the Jeu de Paume before 1930; these 
were shown in Paris, MN'AM, Pjris- 
Moscou, June 2.7-Sept. 3, 1979, in the 
permanent collections, Artistes ntsscs 
a I'.ins de 1919 a 1939: oeuvres dans 
les collections nationales, no cat. 

ii. Letter from Olga Hartmann to Kan- 
dinsky, in Russian, dated June 1937: 
"I tried in vain to talk to her [Nina 
Kandinsky] about how annoyed she 
u as about the Russian newspapers, 
and to convince her that it was much 
more trying for us to see that our 
friends did not want to hear Thomas's 
new pieces than it was for her to see 
that certain people on the Russian 
papers did not understand your art." 
Among the items in Kandinsky's li- 
brary preserved in the Kandinsk) 
Archive is a concert program that in- 
cludes poems by K. Balmont, Adam 
m itch and Marina Zwetaeva that 
were set to music by de Hartmann; 
these are listed under the heading, 
"Works by Ih. de Hartmann, sung by 
Madame Hartmann; at the piano: the 
composer." 



didn't understand a bit of it! Especially since art gives me a queasy feel- 
ing. Obviously there is some organic deficiency involved. For 1 am per- 
fectly willing to admit that in theory, in principle, art such as that can 
exist, hi fact it is entirely possible that yours is the true art, just as we 
say of certain types of music that it is "pure music." But it has not been 
granted to me to understand and enjoy such art. And if art does not give 
me any pleasure, 1 simply do not understand and do not accept it. 1 am an 
incorrigible "celebrator of things." If I am to feel that special thrill "that 
makes life worth living," I need images that are comprehensible to my 
rational self or at least to my conscious or even my subconscious. And 
that is precisely what I do not find in your work. . . . I am also ready to 
admit that what you create may have a great future ahead of it. I ivould 
not be at all surprised if, as I looked into the future, 1 saw a type of art 
very similar to yours, or even stemming from yours. . . . As I say. 1 would 
not be surprised but I ivould be profoundly saddened. 24 

Kandinsky and Nina were so shocked by the way the Russian emigre 
colony behaved that they refused to attend a concert given by their friend 
Thomas de Hartmann and his wife, so that they would not have to run into 
the leading Russian figures of Paris. :s Only from time to time did Kandinsky 
keep in touch with Aleksei Remizov, the writer, whom he wanted Jeanne 
Bucher to publish,-' 1 and with the Russian sculptor Antoine Pevsner, whose 
work he recommended for inclusion in various exhibitions. : But as he aged, 
the urge to speak Russian became stronger; he spoke Russian with Nina, 
and it was in Russian that he liked to swap ideas with his nephew Kojeve. 
And it became natural for him, when jotting down indications of color on 
a preliminary drawing, to use Russian abbreviations instead of the German 
names (fig. 3). Renewing relations with his half-nephews and half-nieces, he 
plunged into a certain nostalgia for his native country. :s The political situation 



is 



fig- 4 

Gide, Retour de I'U.R.S.S.. 1936, cover and 

p. 80, scored by Kandinsky 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 











WUlth: GIDE 

RETOl R 
U.R.S.S. 

nry- 

CALLIMARO 











RETOl R 01 it R.S.S. 

tgmpathg utth T/ir tvtioU profit •. Cell 
□'etail urn doul* pai >tii pour Sopbod* 

t\ «fl«iDfm*Ql pai pour Hiniiut, par qui 
.-tat, ooui icmble-l-tl, thin la It 
Ola ecaaerail peul *lr«- d'elrt m 
oil.. M*i> c'eal pr^cncnient Ij . ■ 
nut rr4B.1l> vtn rUJL&S. avev unr n.irr 
rogtliQE »i aaxicuit: le triompbe de la re- 
volution permeltra-t-«iie a Ma iTllrtH d tin 
portca par Ic courmnlT Car la quntioo k 
poac ; qu'adviendra-t-il 11 1'Etal tocial 
iraai/oimc enleve a I'artiile lout motif d* 
protcalatloo? Que fan PartiUe iM n'a plui 
nirt, plus qu'a 1* laiaaer por- 
tn ' San* doule, I an I qu'ii y a lutte encore 
el que la victoire s'cal pat parfailrmrol 
aaturee. U pourra ptiodrt cetir iulle «L 
eom&altanl lui mtm, aider iu tnompbe. 
Mail timut*— 

Viul« or que je me dunandali avanl J'al- 
ler en I _R.S.S_ 

— « Vooa caxaprenex. m'tspliqua J. t* 



•1 *••<_ <■• 



CSV 






26. Letter from Remizov to Kandinsky 
dated Feb. 3, 1937. 

27. Pevsner had been living in Paris since 
1927. Kandinsky had no eye for sculp- 
ture. In 1937 he wrote to Dezarrois to 
advise him to separate sculpture and 
painting at the Jeu de Paume, and spe- 
cifically to set aside the ground floor 
"for sculpture, which often gets in the 
way of painting." 

28. In a letter to Grohmann dated Feb. 
*9> J 939> Kandinsky discussed a visit 
by his niece from Greece in the near 
future and his and Nina's plans for 

a trip to Athens. 



in Russia worried him, and although he was usually very circumspect about 
politics, he let himself go in clearly anti-Communist remarks— as in this letter 
to his nephew dated October 6, 1932: "It seems things are going very badly 
in Russia. They're expecting a real famine. And so, as in a bad pun, instead 
of coming to a station called 'prosperity for all,' they unexpectedly arrive at 
'annihilation of all.' But I do not hold out much hope that the logically 
minded materialists will come a cropper once and for all. The muddy waters 
are spreading farther and farther, in every direction. . . ." 

By 1936, adopting an attitude that was common enough then but some- 
what short on analysis and comprehension, he lumped together Communists 
and Fascists, criticizing the Moscow trials and the Fiihrer's auto da fes. 

Just as he had done in 1906, when he first stayed in Paris and Sevres, 
Kandinsky lived in France with Russia— a certain Russia— always in mind. 
His Russia was composed of memories of a country that had disappeared, 
and he tended to gild his outdated, picturesque images of it. It had been the 
continent of his childhood, and all that was left to him was an immense 
sadness. He devoured Andre Gide's pamphlet Retour de I'U.R.S.S. and under- 
lined everything in it that the author had noted was a limitation on artistic 
freedom and on spirituality (fig. 4). Kandinsky was less sensitive to news 
about the Entartete Kunst (degenerate art) exhibitions in Munich than to 
the description of the antireligious museums Gide had visited. Gide wrote: 

/ did not see the antireligious museums in A\oscow but 1 did visit the one 
in Leningrad, in Saint Isaac's Cathedral, whose golden dome glows ex- 
quisitely over the city. On the outside, the cathedral is very beautiful; on 
the inside it is appalling. The large, pious paintings it harbors could 
tempt one into blasphemy, so hideous are they. The museum itself is far 
less impertinent than 1 might have feared. Its purpose was to contrast 
the myth spun by religion with the mightiness of science. Cicerones are 



19 



19- Andre Gide, Retoitr de I'U.R.S.S., 
Paris, 1936, p. 88. 

30. Letter from Kandinsky to Kojeve; this 
letter is undated, but since it was writ- 
ten at La Napoule, it must date from 
the summer of 1935, when Kandinsky 
stayed there. 

31. Letter from Arp to Kandinsky dated 
Sept. 18, 1936, reproduced in MNAM, 
Kandinsky, coll. cat., Paris, 1984, 

p. 365. Nina Kandinsky, p. 186: "In 
1936 we received a clipping from Die 
Essener National Zeitung that terri- 
fied us. That was where we came 
across the diabolical expression, 
'degenerate art.' " 

31. Three paintings and two watercolors 
by Kandinsky were shown in Entartete 
Ktinst: Bildersturm ror 25 Jahren at 
the Hans der Kunst, Munich, in the 
summer of 1937. 

33. London, New Burlington Galleries, 
Exhibition of Twentieth Century Ger- 
man Art, July 7-31, 1938. All of the 
artists represented had been included 
in the notorious Entartete Kunst 
show the previous summer. 



011 hand to convince those whose indolent minds may not be impressed 
by the various optical instruments or the tables on astronomy or natural 
history or anatomy or statistics. The overall effect is decent enough and 
not too defamatory. 29 

Over-mistrustful of leftwing tyrannies, Kandinsky neglected to dissoci- 
ate himself from those on the far right. He took a disconcertingly wait-and- 
see attitude toward the Nazis. For a long time he believed he would be able 
to go back to Germany and when Kojeve traveled to Berlin, Kandinsky asked 
him to plead his case before the administration of the Third Reich and the 
banks: ". . . although Germany was my permanent place of residence even 
before the war, I traveled very often, not only in northern and southern Ger- 
many but also abroad, and at one point lived abroad for four consecutive 
years (in France, Belgium, Tunisia and Italy). So the reasons why I have not 
been in Germany for almost two years now have nothing to do with politics 
but only with art." 30 

In 1936 Sophie Taeuber-Arp reported to him in the most disturbing terms 
on the precarious condition of modern art in Germany, and soon afterward 
Arp wrote him a letter about "degenerate art," enclosing newspaper articles 
on the removal from German museums of works that had been in their collec- 
tions and on the smear campaign launched against every modern form of 
expression. 31 

In 1938 Kandinsky's attitude changed. He signed a petition in support of 
Otto Freundlich, a Jewish artist living in Paris; one of his sculptures had been 
reproduced on the cover of the catalogue of the Entartete Kunst exhibi- 
tion in Munich. 32 Kandinsky attended the vernissage of the show that Jeanne 
Bucher organized in Freundlich's honor and helped to buy one of Freund- 
lich's works so that it could be given to the Jeu de Paume (fig. 5). At the urging 
of Peggy Guggenheim and Herbert Read, Kandinsky agreed to lend several 
paintings to the Twentieth Century German Art exhibition in London de- 
voted to artists who had been banished from Germany. 33 When Otto Dix 
exhibited his antiwar painting Flanders at the show, Kandinsky protested 
about mixing politics and art. Herbert Read agreed with him, writing on 
November 9, 1938: 

/ do not think you would be well advised to exhibit in future with the 
German expressionists. Not only is your art so different in spirit, but 
most of them are so determined to make political capital out of their 
unhappy fate that they antagonise the only people who are likely to buy 
their paintings. I do not say this in a mood of cynicism or of compromise. 
Politically and intellectually I am totally opposed to fascism and con- 
tinually fight against it. But there are political realities and there are 
aesthetic realities, and it is necessary to preserve the distinction. I mean, 
that if one strives for the freedom of art, one does not at the same time 
strive for the politisation of art. 

Already, at the huge Exposition Internationale of 1937 Picasso had come 
out of his artistic ivory tower by showing Guernica, that memorable protest 



20 



fig. 5 

Freundlich and Kandinsky on occasion of 

Hommage a freundlich, Galerie Jeanne 

Bucher, Paris, 1938 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 




34. Letter from Kandinsky to Grohmann 
dated Dec. 3, 1937. 

35. Kandinsky's eyes were finally opened 
by the sales of "degenerate art" car- 
ried out surreptitiously by Swiss paint- 
ers or officially at public sales in 
Lucerne, to which the French weekly 
Beaux-Arts devoted numerous arti- 
cles. See Beaux-Arts, no. 329, Apr. 2,1, 
1939. P- 1 ; no. 340, July 7, 1939, 

pp. 1, 7; no. 341, July 14, 1939, p. 8. 



against the Putsch and Franco's military repression, the only masterpiece of 
any consequence left by this failed exhibition. Miro, though timid, painted 
The Reaper and produced the lithograph Aidez L'Espagne. The sculptor 
Jacques Lipchitz created a monstrous Prometheus Strangling the Vulture; 
commissioned by the government, it was considered a gesture of solidarity 
with the Jews of Central Europe and their suffering under the Nazis and set 
off a virulent campaign in the reactionary French newspapers. Kandinsky ob- 
served that crowds of visitors streamed to the German pavilion at the expo- 
sition and he told Grohmann how pleased he was that it was receiving so 
many official awards. 31 But how can we tell how ironic Kandinsky was being? 
His political blindness ended the following year: his German passport 
expired, and the German embassy in Paris refused to renew it. 35 Kandinsky 
immediately began taking steps to obtain French naturalization (see cat. no. 
224). In support of his application he produced letters from Dezarrois, cura- 
tor at the Jeu de Paume, and Jean Cassou, deputy curator of the Musee du 
Luxembourg. By the time war was declared, Kandinsky had become French— 
which spared him from being interned in a camp as were many other artists 
who were citizens of enemy countries. His only somewhat daring gesture- 
not a very bold one, to be sure— of opposition to tyranny was to contribute to 
illustrations for a poem by Stephen Spender, which was translated by Louis 



21 



upon* co l tci ow " 

«n el brcwto de balm arte*, tananfe. 



exposicion de arte 
contemporaneo 



fakw !ob**tn 



J Q tO / 15 iwo.o 1936 * 'I o I y * 6 o 9 











WASSILY KANDINSKY 

fKANZOSISCHE MEISTER 
DER GEGENVCART 











36. On Dec. 14, 1936, the Canary Islands 
fell to the seditious troops; the edi- 
torial staff of Eduardo Westerdahl's 
Gaceta de arte was dispersed. 

37. The Kunsthalle Bern gave Kandinsky 
an opportunity to organize a genuine 
retrospective in 1937. Between 1939 
and 1940, Rupf (a collector and Kan- 
dinsky's banker) was virtually the 
only person outside France with 
whom Kandinsky corresponded; see 
the annotated edition of their corre- 
spondence by Sandor Kuthy in Bulle- 
tin des Musees des Beaux-Arts de 
Berne, no. 150-151, May-June 1979; 
no. 151-153, Aug.-Sept. 19-9. 

38. Letter from Solomon R. Guggenheim 
to Kandinsky dated June 6, 1931: 
"You have to say about coming to 
America, Chicago, lecturing 

39. Kandinsky may have dreamed of 
Indian landscapes and art when 
Albers wrote him enthusiastic letters 
about Mexico and the pre-Colombian 
civilizations (he even sent Kandinsky 
little pottery figures that arrived in 
Paris in bits) and when Breton visited 
Trotsky in Mexico City in 1938. 

40. It was a work by Bauer that adorned 
the cover of the Second Enlarged 
Catalogue of the Solomon R. Guggen- 
heim Collection of Non-Objective 
Paintings. The catalogue, winch 
accompanied an exhibition at the 
Philadelphia Art Alliance presented 
Feb. 8-28, 193", listed sixty-nine 
works by Bauer and thirty-four by 
Kandinsky. Concerning the relation- 
ship between Rebay and Kandinsky, 
see Joan M. Lukach, Ililla Rebay: hi 
Search of the Spirit in Art. New York, 
1983. 



fig. 6 

Catalogue for exhibition traveling in 
Spain, 1936, organized by Gaceta de arte 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



fig- 7 

Catalogue and Kandinsky's installation 

plan for Wassily Kandinsky: Franzosische 

Meister der Gegenwart . Kunsthalle Bern, 

1937 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



Aragon and published in 1939 by the American engraver Stanley William 
Hayter (cat. no. 42). This stance, as the quiet man of the art world, was 
doubtless what made it possible for him to work and exhibit regularly during 
the Occupation without being hindered. 

Kandinsky's Geographical World 

The USSR was forbidden him; Germany had rejected him. Spain, where some 
critics had begun to pay attention to him in 1936 (fig. 6), had collapsed 
quickly under Franco's dictatorship. 36 Italy still appealed to him strongly 
but was in disgrace. Europe had shrunk to France, Switzerland (fig. 7) and 
England. 37 Beyond that, there was only imaginary geography: China, but by 
now he was too old to go there, and America, from which he derived most 
of his income (fig. 8). 

On several occasions he made plans to go to America and began study- 
ing English. In 1931 he wanted to deliver lectures in Chicago. 18 In 1933 his 
friends Anni and Josef Albers left for America, to teach at Black Mountain, 
and they began urging him repeatedly to join them. 39 But America also meant 
the new Bauhaus, re-created in Chicago by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and Kan- 
dinsky, like many former pupils of the German Bauhaus— the only authentic 
one— assumed that the new one was only a mediocre imitation. He also 
considered that Rudolf Bauer was, as he saw it, unfairly competing with 
him for the attention of Hilla Rebay and Solomon Guggenheim. 40 Kandinsky 
preferred to stay in Paris, "the city that gave artistic activity its resonance." 



22 



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PUBLIC COMMENTS MADE IN 
THE MUSEUM OF NONOBJECTIVE 
PAINTING. IN NEW YORK 







fig. 8 

Pamphlet published by Museum of Non- 
Objective Painting, New York 
Collection Musee National d*Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



41. Letter from Kandinsky to Homer 
Saint-Gaudens, director of the Mu- 
seum of Art, Carnegie Institute, 
Pittsburgh, dated Feb. 5, 1940. Xerox 
preserved in the Kandinsky Archive, 
MNAM. 

42.. Fry was in charge of the Centre 
Americain de Secours in Marseilles. 
In particular, letter dated May 7, 1941. 

43. Nina Kandinsky, p. 230. 

44. In a letter to Grohmann dated Feb. 
11, 1935, and in a letter to Arnold 
Schonberg dated July 1, 1936, Kan- 
dinsky said he wished to keep aloof 
from the atmosphere of intrigue that 
flourished in the Paris art world but 
that at the same time it was not very 
advantageous to keep aloof because 
there, more than anywhere else that 
he knew of, it was important to know 
the right people. 



Kandinsky felt that neither Cubism and Abstract Art nor the 1938 Bau- 
haus exhibition— both organized by Alfred Barr at The Museum of Modern 
Art in New York— showed him in his best light. He was simply glad to know 
that much of his work was in safekeeping with Karl Nierendorf, a dealer in 
New York, out of danger of being destroyed by the war." While the northern 
half of France was occupied, Varian Fry in Marseilles regularly sent Kan- 
dinsky messages from Barr (referred to as "cousin Barr" to fool the censors) 
urging him to leave for America— and bring his old paintings with him. 42 
But Kandinsky remained in Neuilly, and New York remained forever in the 
realm of dreams: "Nothing gigantic about it, no hint of its limitless possibili- 
ties. To me New York is like a pretty little garden-city, a strange dream." 45 
His only traveling was prosaic: daily walks in the Bois de Boulogne or at 
Bagatelle, with an occasional expedition as far as the Pare Monceau. 



A Relatively Isolated Existence 

Although Kandinsky was not a recluse, he did live alongside Paris rather 
than in it. 44 He was getting older, fearing the onset of illness. His apartment 
was far from the center of Paris and its art life. He missed his friends from 
earlier days— Paul Klee, Will Grohmann, Anni and Josef Albers. The Paris 
he had known in 1906— the Post-Impressionists' Paris, the world of parks that 
the Nabis had painted— was gone. At least he was able to see some Gauguins 
again at Wildenstein's and remember how dazzled he had been by the 



2-3 



Gauguin retrospective at the Salon d'Automne in 1906. 45 He was also glad 
to find some paintings by the Douanier Rousseau he had never seen before, at 
Paul Rosenberg's gallery. But of the friendships dating from the Blaue Reiter 
period few were left. Matisse was now in Nice. Pierre Girieud had given way 
to academicism— and was now executing frescoes for the university hall in 
Poitiers. Albert Gleizes was living hermit-like in Serriere and teaching pot- 
tery to a few disciples who were attempting a sort of return to nature. Kan- 
dinsky had to build up a whole network of acquaintances from scratch, 
especially since what he had thought would be a merely intermediate stage 
was proving to be the longest period he had ever spent in one place, and 
indeed in the same apartment: eleven years. 



45. Paris, [Wildenstein's] Galerie de !a 
Gazette des Beaux-Arts, L.i Vie 
ardente de P.iul Gauguin, Paris, Dec. 
1936. This was accompanied by a 
catalogue by Raymond Cogniat with 
an introduction by Henri Focillon. 
The same year Le Cinquantenaire du 
Synibolisme, an exhibition of manu- 
scripts, autographs, prints, paintings, 
sculptures, rare editions, portraits and 
objets d'art, was presented by the 
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. 

46. Kandinsky's apartment was rented 
from the Caisse nationale des depots 
et consignations. 

4-. Nina Kandinsky, p. 150: "The fur- 
niture arrived from Munich in 1916. 
To the furniture and the everyday 
household objects, Gabriele Miinter 
added fourteen paintings and several 
sketches." 

48. Grohmann, p. 221. 

49. Nina Kandinsky, pp. 14, 190. 

50. The view from the window often pro- 
vided the metaphors for Kandinsky's 
writings, for example, "Line and Fish" 
in Axis, no. 2, Apr. 19 ;>, p. 6, and 
the theme of the poem "La Promen- 
ade" published in L'Art abstrait, ses 
origines, ses premiers maitres, Paris, 
1950, p. 1 67. The correspondence 
with Grohmann is studded w it h 
references to light and the v iew, for 
example letters dated Jan. 7, 1934, 
and Dec. 3, 19?-. 

5 1. In .1 letter to Alberto Magnelli dated 
M.n 9, 1942: "Our boulevard de la 
Seine is a real poem, because of its 
chestnut trees." 



The Apartment-cum-Painter's Studio 

A number of critics, art historians and curators went as on pilgrimages to 
Kandinsky's small, cozy seventh-floor apartment at 135, boulevard de la 
Seine (now du general Koenig) in Neuilly (fig. 9). The building had just been 
finished when he moved into it. The pilgrims did not find much to look at on 
the walls of his place— it was nothing like the huge, baroque, very turn-of-the- 
century apartment on the rue La Boetie that Picasso had turned into a studio 
in 1920. 46 Kandinsky managed to fit into his small rooms the jumble of fur- 
niture from his Munich days that Gabriele Miinter had given back to him in 
1926/ 7 It was all pretty old-fashioned except for the Breuer table and chairs 
in the dining room. Kandinsky painted the walls black and white and pink, 
the way they had been in Dessau. Grohmann wrote in his monograph, ". . . he 
furnished his apartment with great care, making the tiny dining room look 
exactly like the one in Dessau . . . ." ' 8 In her memoirs, Nina Kandinsky wrote: 

Kandinsky had decided to use the largest room in the apartment as his 
studio; but once the paintings, the shelves, the three easels and the rest 
of his professional equipment had been fitted in, there was very little 
room left for him to paint in. . . . Since Kandinsky died, I have changed 
hardly anything in the apartment. The collection of little multicolored 
Chinese figurines still stands on the bookshelves in the living room, just 
the way Kandinsky had arranged them, and the antique icons in his 
studio continue to hang where he hung them. He did not want anything 
but those icons in his studio, and especially not his own creations; nothing 
was supposed to distract him from his work; with bare trails he was 
sure he would be able to concentrate. " 

Kandinsky does not seem to have attached a great deal of importance 
to this apartment; most often it is mentioned in his correspondence in con- 
nection with heating problems. Only the windows were important: he loved 
to look at the sky. watch the light, the clouds that played with the smoke 
rising from the factories at Puteaux, the fishermen waiting at the water's edge, 
the rowers on the Seine.'" He admired the flowering chestnut trees ,see cat. 
nos. 15—17)." 



14 



fig- 9 

Kandinsky's studio in Neuilly-sur-Seine, 
photographed shortly after his death 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




51. Letter from Kandinsky to Grohmann 
dated June 25, 1943. Correspondence 
between France and Germany had be- 
come possible again, and Kandinsky 
was happy to be able to write to 
Grohmann, who had remained in Ger- 
many. Kandinsky told him that in 
1942 he and Nina had not been able 
to go away on summer vacation and 
had to make do with the Bois de 
Boulogne and the Pare de Bagatelle, 
both within walking distance. 

53. Food rationing had no influence on the 
themes Kandinsky chose. Not so with 
Georges Braque, who in 1940 painted 
a tempting Ham, a sumptuous Kitchen 
Table and the portrait of his Stove. 

54. These are included in the twenty-five 
letters from Kandinsky to Bruguiere 
published by the author in Les Cahiers 
du Musee Nationale d'Art Moderne, 
no. 9, 1982, pp. 84-109. This corre- 
spondence sheds light on little-known 
aspects of life in the Paris art world 
during the German Occupation of 
1940-44. 



He worked regularly and lived entirely for his painting. No event stands 
out in his life, except for a few weeks' summer vacation. 52 His Paris years 
can be divided into two phases. First, from 1933 to 1939, he kept up with 
what was happening in the art world, took part in shows, wrote and painted 
a great deal. His studio was an international pole of attraction; any artist or 
critic visiting Paris had to go there. Then, starting in 1940, life became more 
difficult. There were restrictions on food, heating, everything; materials for 
drawing and painting became scarce.'' 3 Most artists, dealers and critics left 
the city. Visitors were rare in the extreme. Yet, despite the war and the risks 
it entailed, Kandinsky was abundantly optimistic— as witness these two ex- 
cerpts from his correspondence with Pierre Bruguiere, an art collector who 
was a judge at that time in Tours:''' 

March 14, 194Z 

. . . By ait J large, we personally have nothing serious to complain about. 
From our windows we had a very clear view of the bombardment on 
March ? and for some time we were naive enough to think it was a 
marvelous display of fireworks. Aly wife is somewhat worried because 
of the number of factory smokestacks at Puteaux, just across the river, 
hut I ant confident that the English will not bomb a built-up area where 
houses surround the factories on all sides and come up very close to 
them; besides the factories in Puteaux are quite small affairs. But after 
.1 long "intermission" we can hear the sirens' song again, a very strange 
and disturbing type of music. None of this prevents me from getting a 
lot of ivork done, and it is with the greatest of pleasure that I will show 
you my new paintings. 



2-5 



April 7, 1943 

As you heard yesterday or the day before, the bombardment spared us. 
While I was writing you those hypothetical questions 1 completely forgot 
the bombing, though it made a violent impression on us. We had just 
finished lunch when we heard the planes, definitely not German, they 
must have been British or American. The alert sounded too late; the two 
explosions at the racetrack claimed so many victims. A little later we 
could see from our windows a tremendous fire in the direction of Saint- 
Cloud: the Coty factory was burning. The bomb explosions at the Ray- 
naud [sic] factory could not be heard from our place; the damage is 
supposed to be terrible. I tvas sorry, after you came to see us, that I had 
forgotten to show you the draivings you wanted- to see. 



55. Nina Kandinsky, pp. 2.07, 147. Ac- 
cording to Nina Kandinsky, her hus- 
band stopped painting in July 1944- 
But on May 14 Jeanne Bucher had 
already written to Nina Kandinsky: 
"let's hope Kandinsky gets well 
again." 



The Pleasure of Painting 

In the course of his eleven years in Neuilly, Kandinsky produced 144 paint- 
ings, about 250 watercolors and gouaches and many India ink and pencil 
drawings. 55 His last canvas, Delicate Tensions (cat. no. 130), dates from the 
summer of 1942. After that he stopped doing easel painting and gouaches and 
produced only hybrids of the techniques, a series of Lilliputian gouache-and- 
oils on cardboard that were halfway between paintings and "colored draw- 
ings." Why did Kandinsky revert to the kinds of tempera works he had 
exhibited at the Salon d'Automne from 1904 to 1907? Was it easier for him, 
less tiring, to paint flat on a table? Was he anxious to go faster? It would 
seem, judging from two or three paintings on board left unfinished, that he 
undertook regular series of such works during this period. 

Most of the time there is no relationship between the gouache-watercol- 
ors and the paintings. Whereas the watercolor Reunited Surfaces of August 
1934 (cat. no. 55) can be considered a very detailed preliminary study for 
Two Green Points of the following April (cat. no. 54), many other gouaches, 
on the contrary, merely reproduce, with some variations, details from the 
painted compositions. For instance, the untitled gouache entered as cat. no. 
638 in Kandinsky's Handlist of watercolors, actually shows the details of the 
lower left portion of the canvas Complex-Simple painted the year before, 
1939. But most of the gouaches and watercolors are authentically original 
works in their own right, with their own series of preliminary drawings lead- 
ing up to them. The troubled years just before and at the beginning of the war 
gave Kandinsky an insatiable appetite for works on paper, to the detriment of 
easel painting. To produce a series of "colored drawings" took less room and 
cost less. When Kandinsky first settled in Paris, he began with watercolors: 
thirty-four of them in one year, compared with twelve paintings. By 1940 the 
year's output was ten oil paintings and sixty gouache-watercolors— to which 
he stopped giving titles. 

It was logical for Kandinsky's work to fall into two categories, major 
and minor. Kandinsky was trying to broaden his market. He asked very high 
prices for the oil paintings, which made them unattainable for Parisian and 
other European art collectors. But the gouaches were still within reach of the 



26 



>6. Sixty-five paintings were placed in the 
care of M. Emile Redon, at Saint- 
Felix de Sorgues, Aveyron, on Sept. 
i7i x 939- 

57. Xina Kandinsky, p. 215. 

58. Christian Zervos, "Notes sur Kandin- 
sky: a propos de sa recente exposition 
a la Galerie des 'Cahiers d'Art.' " 
Cahiers d'Art, ye annee, no. 5-S. 1934, 
pp. 149-157. This article is actually a 
long interview, transcribed and modi- 
fied by Zervos. 

59. Letter from Kandinsky to Freundlich 
dated July 15, 1938. Letters to Freund- 
lich cited in these notes are preserved 
in the Archives de la donation Freund- 
lich au Musee de Pontoise. 

60. Concerning the standard dimensions 
for stretchers and frames in use 
among art suppliers, see Xavier de 
Langlais, La Technique de la peinture 
.1 1'huile, Paris, 1959, pp. 406-407. 



art lovers who frequented such circles as the Galerie des "Cahiers d'Art" or 
the Galerie Jeanne Bucher— which "placed" several of the works on paper 
with some of the "occupants" during the war. 

We have to keep this split-level market in mind in order to understand 
what Kandinsky produced in Paris. The canvases arc never repetitious and 
incorporate all of his plastic research. They remained piled up in his studio 
until 1959, when they were sent south for safekeeping to the Aveyron 
region. 56 

After the summer of 1942. he devoted all his time to gouaches and works 
combining several techniques; less dense than the paintings, conveying less 
tension, they were close relatives or iridescent reflections of the "bagatelles" 
of his earlier days. They were meant to be instantly appealing. As such, they 
were probably more influenced by the spirit of the times than the paintings 
were. 

Kandinsky did not go into detail about his methods. While his letters are 
full of allusions to his leisure activities, his walks and excursions, he was 
very secretive when it came to his creative life. We have to rely on what Nina 
Kandinsky wrote: "It was Kandinsky's practice, unlike Klee's, to concentrate 
on only one work at a time; he never began a new painting until the previous 
one was finished." 5 " This was chiefly true for the large canvases but we must 
not assume that it was an inflexible rule. Zervos pointed out in his "Notes 
sur Kandinsky" in 1934 that "sometimes he works on three different paint- 
ings at the same time." 58 

It would be interesting to know how long each step in the process of 
maturation took: first, the conceptual discovery of a given form, then rough 
versions of it in a sketchbook, then letting it decant from line drawing to line 
drawing as Kandinsky envisaged its pictorial projection, and finally the exe- 
cution of the painting itself. In some instances the preliminary sketches were 
followed very quickly by the final composition; in others— as in the earlier 
periods— years might go by between the first step and the last. In a note he 
sent to Freundlich in 1938, Kandinsky used his work as an excuse for not 
attending a party. Those few lines give us an idea of Kandinsky's enthusiasm 
for his art and also a glimpse of how he went about it: "I have just finished 
one painting and am already at work on the preliminary drawings for the 
next one. I must do something in order to get rid of such habits or I won't 
manage to find time for any vacation. I have had this new painting in my 
mind since January, and must get it down on canvas !" 5 

The formats Kandinsky used for his paintings had always varied widely, 
and at no point more than during the Paris years. Some of his formats were 
disconcerting, ones not usually found at a Paris art-supply shop; after 1941 
this can be explained by the difficulty of finding the right materials, but for 
the earlier years there must be some other explanation. 60 A sort of seasonal 
rhythm emerged as large formats alternated with small. It also seems that 
Kandinsky was determined, by means of this alternating pattern, to avoid 
the risk of repeating himself; whenever he became too used to any given 
format, he abandoned it and adopted another, more eccentric one, making 
him look at his own compositions with a fresh eye. 



2-7 




fig. 10 

Alberto Magnelli 

Collage on Sheet-Iron. 1938 

Whereabouts unknown 

fig. 11 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Balancing Act. February 1935 

Oil with sand on canvas 

Private Collection 




From 1935 to 1938, a sort of golden age within his Paris period, Kan- 
dinsky clearly preferred two large formats referred to in the trade in Paris 
as "40 figure" (100 x 81 cm., or 39% x 31%") and "jo figure" (116 x 89 cm., 
or 45% x 35"). He usually used them horizontally. Twelve of his paintings 
were 40 figure, twenty-two were jo figure. So these were all fairly large can- 
vases, considerably larger than those of the Bauhaus period; yet none of the 
paintings from his final decade in Paris approached the sizes of his large 
compositions of 1913. 

In his inventory Kandinsky listed two paintings from this Paris period 
in the category of Compositions: Composition IX (cat. no. 7), painted in 
1936 and purchased in 19^9 by the Musee du Jeu de Paume, and Composi- 
tion X (cat. no. 105), begun late in 1938, completed in 1939, and now in the 
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Diisseldorf. Oddly enough, Kandin- 
sky did not include in the same category another 110 figure (195 x 140 cm., 
or j6 3 A x 55V8"), the largest Parisian commercial format, which he rightly 
considered one of his most beautiful creations of that period. It is Dominant 
Curve, 1936 (cat. no. 6), which Peggy Guggenheim bought immediately 
after she organized the Kandinsky show of 1939 in her London gallery, and 
now in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Collection. 

Kandinsky did not choose his formats on the basis of any contract with 
the dealers nor, apparently, with any future exhibition in mind. The choice 
was strictly up to him and his 'inner necessity." He bought his stretchers 
one by one, as the need arose, partly to avoid spending much at any one time, 
even though he had enough money, and partly because he did not have room 
to store anything cumbersome. As a result, he was caught unprepared by the 



28 



hg. ii 

Andre Masson 

Battle of Fishes. 1926 

Sand, gesso, oil, pencil and charcoal on 

canvas 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 

New York. Purchase 

Reproduced in La Revolution Surrealiste, 

1917 










•' 






: ; .' ImM 










61. In a notebook Kandinsky kept track 
of the orders he placed for stretchers 
and canvas: on Mar. 24, 1942, two 
jo figure, one jo paysage, two 40 
figure and one So figure ordered from 
Lefebvre-Foinet; one j figure and one 
40 figure ordered from Sennelier. It 
seems that these orders were not 
delivered in full. 

62. Letter from Kandinsky to Kojeve 
dated May 18, 1934. 

63. London, Guggenheim Jeune, Exhibi- 
tion of Collages, Papiers Colles, and 
Photo-Montages, Nov. 3-26, 1938. 

64. La Revolution Surrealiste, no. 9-10, 
Oct. 1, 1927, p. 10 (Masson [sable]); 
no. 11, Mar. 15, 1928, p. 23 
(Masson, "une metamorphose"). 

65. Paris, 64 bis, rue La Boetie, Salon de 
I'art mural, May 31-June 30, 1935. 

66. Zervos reported in Cahiers d 'Art, <)t 
annee, no. 9-10, 1934, P- Z 7 Z > tnat tne 
exhibition ranged from ''the subtle, 
infinitely mobile, sparkling works by 
Kandinsky" to "Mondrian's limpid, 
taut, pitiless compositions." 



war and had run out of unused canvas by 1941. 61 He did not solve the prob- 
lem until 1943, when by some unexplained means he acquired a stock of 
German cardboard of medium format (42 x 58 cm., or 16V2 x 22%")— it was 
on this he painted most of his last works. 

Kandinsky was somewhat hesitant about trying out new materials and 
remained faithful to the German art-suppliers. Every time his nephew Kojeve 
went to Berlin, Kandinsky asked him to bring back tempera paints. 62 Kan- 
dinsky made few changes in his technique. He continued to flout the rules 
taught in all the art schools by mixing tempera and oils, drawing on painted 
surfaces with India ink, using enamel, and so on. But he did not try his hand 
at collages, which had become fashionable again in Paris around 1930 (fig. 
10), nor at frottages, which he admired in Max Ernst's work. He took part 
in the collage and photomontage show organized in London in 1939 by 
Peggy Guggenheim and Hans Arp— by exhibiting a sand painting called Raye 
(Striped) (cat. no. 29 ). 63 Sand painting was the only technical innovation 
Kandinsky adopted upon his arrival in Paris (fig. 11); by 1936 he had ex- 
hausted its possibilities. He knew some of Masson's sand paintings, which 
had been reproduced in the Surrealist magazines (fig. 12), 64 and had seen the 
very thick, hard-baked surfaces of Braque's most recent works. He was also 
in touch with Willi Baumeister, who specialized in large mural painting 
projects. Kandinsky contacted as well the organizers of the first Salon de 
I'art mural in Paris. 6 ' It is surprising to find Kandinsky's name among the 
participants in a salon that brought together what were for the most part 
academic painters— Aman-Jean and Paul Colin, for example— conformist 
critics and figures from the museum world. An ephemeral affair, the Salon 
was presided over by Eugenio d'Ors and by Amedee Ozenfant, who must 
have been the hard worker behind it all. Curiously enough, the two im- 
portant decorators of 1937, Fernand Leger and Robert Delaunay, are not 
included in the list. 

To assert his new Paris manner Kandinsky sent his multitechnique paint- 
ings to the shows of the period. They caused a sensation at These- Antithese- 
Synthese, the international exhibition in Lucerne in 1935. 66 Among the prin- 
cipal organizers of this show, one of the most complete and best documented 



2-9 



6y. Hans Erni, "The Lucerne Exhibition," 
Axis, no. 2, Apr. 1935, pp. 17, 18. 

68. The exhibition opened on June 21, 
1935. In his review in La Bete noire, 
no. 4, July 1935, p. 5, Maurice 
Raynal wrote: "Why didn't the or- 
ganizers of the Salon de l'art mural 
invite Kandinsky or Miro, if they 
really intended to show us walls on 
which something could happen." 
A. Bognard noted in his review in 
Beaux-Arts, no. 131, July 5, 1935: 
"One is aware not so much of the 
peculiar substance these panels are 
made of, as of the decoratively grace- 
ful hieroglyphics that cover them." 

69. // lavoro fascista, vol. XIII, July 2.8, 
1935, p. 4. On the occasion of the 
same show Arp's poem on Kandinsky 
was published in the Danish magazine 
Konkretion, no. 1, Sept. 15, 1935, 

PP- 4-5- 

70. Zervos, "Notes sur Kandinsky," 
p. 154. 



exhibitions of abstract art in the 1930s, was Hans Erni, a Swiss painter whose 
own work at the time was abstract. In his report on the exhibition in the 
English magazine Axis, Erni placed more emphasis on Kandinsky's technical 
innovation than on the new plastic vocabulary he was developing in Paris: 
". . . While the works 'Monde bleu' (1934), 'Violet dominant' (1934), 'Deux 
entourages' (1934) with their delicate, pale-coloured surface shapes on an 
even, clear background, and the flat-toned pictures carried out in a fine sand 
technique, must be considered as illustrations full of the meaning of his pru- 
dent existence in Paris." 67 

Also in 1935 Parisians were able to see Kandinsky's recent works in 
Nouvelles toiles, aquarelles, dessins, the second show Yvonne Zervos organ- 
ized in his honor at the Galerie des "Cahiers d'Art." 68 Several of the works 
shown were reproduced in the first issue of Cahiers d'Art published after the 
exhibition. Shortly thereafter, Kandinsky granted an interview to the Italian 
daily // lavoro fascista. Among other things, he discussed technique: 

But let us not speak anymore of books and theories on paper. Now then, 
did you see my exhibition? As you may remember, 1 gathered in Cahiers 
d'Art ten very recent paintings, twenty-five gouaches and watercolors, 
also recent, and twenty-eight drawings that span the period from 1910- 
1934. In the majority of the compositions on canvas I used a sand tech- 
nique more or less consistently, but I usually don't distinguish between 
traditional oil painting, gouache, tempera and watercolor, and 1 even 
simultaneously use the various techniques in the same work. What is 
essential for me is to be able to clearly convey what I want, to recount 
my dream. / consider both technique and form to be mere instruments 
of expression, and my stories, furthermore, are not narrative or historical 
in character, but purely pictorial. 69 

Kandinsky used a sort of dry technique in Paris, evenly, patiently, care- 
fully spreading a thin coat of color. His tones were mat and perfectly smooth. 
Every detail was colored with infinite thoroughness, which contributed to the 
tense construction of the whole. Shapes and colors participated equally in the 
play of balance and imbalance among the motifs, conceived as a battle of 
great bipartite antagonists (fig. 13). Kandinsky made instability interact with 
inextricableness. In bringing together the infinitely small with the infinitely 
large, he was not overly concerned with the scale of the elements he brought 
into play: in Sky Blue (cat. no. 116) a scattering of microbian creatures is 
sown over the blueness of space like snowflakes suddenly motionless in a 
winter sky. 

With Each for Himself (cat. no. 21), one of the first canvases Kandinsky 
painted after moving to Neuilly, he clearly demonstrated his aesthetics of 
complexity. "Since the winter of 1933, [Kandinsky] has been working in Paris. 
The first of his Paris paintings, Each for Himself, was done in tempera and 
oils; it is composed of nine entities, so to speak, each with its own life. The 
difficulty lay in linking these nine independent existences so as to make a 
unified painting out of them. Kandinsky succeeded by using signs and tones 
that bring his canvas into perfect balance."" 



30 



fig- 13 

Kandinsky's Brown with Supplement 
(cat. no. 53) in photograph of "Intellec- 
tual's Living Room" in P. D'Uckerman, 
V Art dans la vie moderne, Paris, 1937, 
p. 115, fig. 5 




The novel aspect here is the reversion to drawing, to meticulously defined 
shapes. Earlier, in his Murnau period, drawing had been submerged by paint- 
ing; his composition was based on the equilibrium among spots of color. 
Although it would be an exaggeration to say that as Kandinsky grew older 
he became above all a draftsman, it is true that during his Paris period line 
and color became equally important. 

He did not scribble any more. His line was less lyrical, less rapid, less 
open than in the notes he had earlier jotted down on paper for Composition 
IV or Composition VII, He actually sketched a great deal less, hesitated less 
over what he wanted. Although the Kandinsky Archive houses several hun- 
dred drawings from the Paris period alone, there are seldom more than one 
or two preparatory sketches for his most important compositions: only one 
in pen and ink for Composition IX, none at all for Composition X. Possibly 
Kandinsky destroyed some of his preliminary drawings, since no one was 
supposed to see them. 

They are generally done in pencil and are very deliberate, with even the 
least important detail worked out once and for all. No effect of light and 
shadow, of course; no trace of blurring, no erasure. They are definitive draw- 
ings, ready to be squared. Sometimes Kandinsky did a second drawing, in 
India ink, in which he rearranged various elements. His choice of colors was 
already made and indicated on the drawing in Russian abbreviations. Each 
drawing was like a musical score, ready to be played. They are rarely dated 
and initialled— which clearly shows that in Kandinsky's mind they were to- 



3i 



-i . // lavoro fas< istj. p. 4. 

71. Kandinsky, carnet dedessins, 1941, 
Paris, 1971. Text by Gaetan Picon. 
The thirty-nine drawings are repro- 
duced in this book, published on the 
occasion of their exhibition at the 
Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris; the draw- 
ings were sold separately at this time. 

73. Nina Kandinsky, p. 191. 

lerto Vlagnelli, "Kandinsky le 
peintre" in Max Bilked.. Wassily Kan- 
dinsky, Paris, [951, pp. 17-18, 



tally different from the drawings that were shown on their own merits at 
various exhibitions. Kandinsky exhibited drawings in order to prove that he 
was capable of drawing and to lay to rest the somewhat simplistic notion 
that "the abstract painters" used colors because they did not know how to 
use line. He says so explicitly in his // lavoro fascista interview: 

/ must first of all assure you that drawing has a much stronger signifi- 
cance in my art than in realistic or figurative painting and that the errors 
in drawing of the so-called abstractionists are more easily perceptible 
than the imperfections in drawing of the others. The graphic essays that 
I exhibited tend to belie the opinion of those who believe that abstract 
painting consists only of chromatic whims. In fact, more than one ob- 
servor has discovered coloristic value in my black and white drawings 
that include extreme linear simplifications and complicated and imagi- 
nary forms. 71 

Like many other painters, Kandinsky drew when it was impossible for 
him to paint. Every year he allowed himself a few weeks' vacation— and took 
along his pads and colored pencils. In 1941, when his studio was under- 
heated, he began a sketchbook of very thorough ink drawings. 72 Most of 
these were signed and dated. In later years several of them were used as 
models for the last works he painted on cardboard. Nina Kandinsky de- 
scribed how her husband used to draw in the evening: 

/;; the light of an electric lamp, he did only drawings. . . . He had the 
rare ability to visualize the world of his paintings in his head, with their 
colors and their shapes, exactly as he carried them out on canvas later. 
His flashes of inspiration were like high-speed snapshots that appeared 
to him in a state of illumination, and he tried to get them down on paper 
immediately, using small quick strokes. At this very first stage in the 
process he decided on the main colors. Using these sketches, he carried 
out the original drawings from which he later painted his canvases. 7 * 

Close friends— among them Alberto Magnelli— paid tribute to Kandinsky 
as a master of drawing. In Magnelli's words, they were struck by "how dis- 
tinct each sign was, how each shape he conceived was perfectly clear; nothing 
was left to chance, nothing was unforeseen." - ' In each of his final paintings 
the drawing remained highly visible. The shape of every colored area was 
very sharply delineated; sometimes he even outlined those areas in black or 
white. 

He moved toward pastel colors, and recommended the use of "mixed" 
tones, rather than pure colors. "The purples shade off into lilac and the lilacs 
into purple. But where does the purple end, where does the lilac begin?" By 
playing on so-called clashes to the point of letting color collapse and de- 
compose, he stood on the very brink of kitsch. His only genuinely theoretical 
text, "La Valeur d'une oeuvre concrete," published in 1939 in the magazine 
XXe Steele, reveals some of the guiding principles behind his work of that 
period: the careful balance between shape and spot, the play of tension-via- 
color between the large colored surfaces and the tiny dots of color. Although 



32- 



75- Letter from Bruguiere to Kandinsky 
dated Jan. 30, 1944. Compare this 
quotation with the following excerpt 
from Kandinsky"s "L'Art concret," 
published in XXe Siecle, no. 1, Mar. 
1938, translated as "Concrete 
Art" in Lindsay and Yergo II, pp. 
816-817: "And how painful it is to 
see this small point where it does not 
belong! You have the impression of 
eating a meringue and of tasting pep- 
per instead. A flower with the odor 
of rot. . . . Rot— that's the word! 
Composition becomes decomposition. 
It's death." 

-6. Magnelli, "Kandinsky le peintre," 
p. 1-. 

— . Reproduced in Axis, no. 6, Summer 
1936, p.-. 

~8. Concerning the fortuitous relation- 
ship between Michaux and Kandin- 
sky, see Jean Bouret, "Voyage en 
grande Garabagne," J.es Lettres 
franchises, Dec. z, 1944. 



the dots are barely perceptible at first, he depends on them to bring the com- 
position ultimately into balance: "One little spot can be given such a strong 
accent." 

Bruguiere paraphrased that idea in a letter he wrote to Kandinsky from 
Tours, where he had only a few Kandinsky gouaches to keep him company: 
"An infinitesimal, almost invisible change of just one color can suddenly 
make the entire work limitlessly irreproachable. " 75 Other painters were sur- 
prised and perplexed by Kandinsky's unconventional and disconcerting use 
of color. Magnelli praised him in these terms: "His range of colors is won- 
derfully varied. He carried out even - possible combination without flinching 
from the most dangerous rapprochements. In this way he was able to convey 
the greatest tenderness without hesitating." 76 

At the same time as his palette approached Art Nouveau delicacy, Kan- 
dinsky reverted to a technique that had won attention for his first entries at 
the Salon d'Automne at the beginning of the century: black backgrounds. 
On black paper or paper colored black, he used tempera' to deposit a few 
spots of color— and this was enough to make the whole surface vibrate im- 
mediately with phosphorescent spots and filaments— as in White Line (cat. 
no. 10), purchased by the Musee du Jeu de Paume in 1937. Kandinsky was 
not the only one to use this graphic device. In 1933 Miro painted Forms on a 
Black Background (cat. no. 103)." The poet Henri Michaux was beginning 
his parallel career as calligrapher and produced gouaches and pastels on 
black backgrounds. One of these, Prince of the Night of 1937 (cat. no. 106), 
is certainly among the most poetic examples of his art." 8 

Kandinsky rarely transposed this technique from works on paper to 
easel paintings. In his book On the Spiritual in Art, he expressed his aversion 
to black, calling it "eternal silence, without future." He did make consider- 
able use of black in 1922 in his murals for the Juryfreie exhibition in Berlin, 
but this was an exception, for decorative purposes only. During his Paris 
period, he produced two paintings that relied solely on the positive-negative 
interplay of black and white: Black Forms on White (cat. no. 45), in 1934, 
and Thirty (cat. no. 68), in 1937. In them Kandinsky verified the effects of 
the new vocabulary of forms that he was in the process of working out; his 
axiom was that any shape or pictogram painted black on a white ground 
looked larger than the same shape or pictogram painted white on black. The 
only large polychrome work on a flat black ground Kandinsky attempted was 
Composition X (cat. no. 105), an oil painting that looks like a gouache on a 
monumental scale, in which he overcame his fear of spreading black over a 
broad area. He even went beyond the prohibition that Malevich had laid 
down when he decreed that his Black Square was the culmination of Con- 
structivism and the utmost limit of easel painting. Kandinsky never again 
used black in this way on canvas, and black backgrounds were fairly rare 
among the cardboard paintings he carried out between 1942 and 1944. 

Recently, Frank Stella has discerned in the paintings of Kandinsky's 
Paris period an attempt to go beyond the two-dimensional universe of ab- 
stract art. He finds that Kandinsky managed to create a new type of pictorial 
space without, however, reverting to old-fashioned perspectiv e and three- 



33 



dimensional illusionism. 79 In about 1934 Kojeve had meditated on the same 
aspect of his uncle's work and compared the spatial effect Kandinsky created 
before the 1930s with that which gradually emerged thereafter in his paint- 
ings. Previously, said Kojeve, Kandinsky's painting had been based on a sort 
of pre-explosive bidimensional unity; the composition was held in place here 
and there by "protuberances," corners and clamps. The whole thing might 
explode at any minute— and then no frame or edge would be able to hold 
anything in. This was the type of spatial effect found in With the Black Arc 
of 1912 (cat. no. 2), whereas after that, Kojeve believed, "it was only a 
coincidence that his new paintings were limited by the dimensions of the 
paper or canvas; actually, they were as infinite as the world whose aesthetic 
principles they reflected. Since they are infinite they cannot have a 'center'; 
or rather— which is the same thing— every point within the painting becomes 
a 'center.'" 80 

Kandinsky experimented with the traditional painter's device of a paint- 
ing within a painting. He did this in paintings such as Complex-Simple of 
1939, which Stella believes shows the artist's studio in very thinly disguised 
form. 81 Here Kandinsky gives us a new twist on the old theme of the rela- 
tionship between the painter and his work on the easel, a new version of 
Vermeer's The Painter in His Studio. Kandinsky also goes beyond the two- 
dimensional space ordinarily expressed on canvas by combining several 
registers, either of roughly similar dimensions— as in Thirty, where he relies 
on pictograms to convey his effect— or of widely varied sizes— as in Parties 
diverses (Various Parts), 1940 (cat. no. 118). The latter is like a piece of inlaid 
work, but he does more than merely assemble separate elements; he takes 
advantage of the transparency of some of the pieces he has drawn in— those 
in the panel on the left, especially— has them overlap onto other panels, and 
by superimposing them so playfully gives tremendous cohesion to his final 
composition. 



79. Stella, "Complexite simple," 
pp. 84-90. 

80. Kandinsky had wanted G. di San Laz- 
zaro to publish Kojeve's views in XXc 
Steele as early as 1938; in fact, they 
were published only in partial form 

as Alexandre Kojeve, "Pourquoi con- 
crer" in "Centenaire de Kandinsky," 
XXc Siicle, vol. xxvn, Dec. 1 ■)'■<', 
pp. (< 1 66 

la, Ci implexite simple," p. 88. 



New Shapes 

The essential feature of Kandinsky's Paris period is the novelty of his shapes. 
Jean Cassou coined a new word for him: he said Kandinsky "degeometrizes." 
The basic geometric figures— circle, square, triangle— undergo changes: they 
become rectangles; the rectangles then turn into trapezoids, as in Blue World, 
1934 (cat. no. 25); the circles flatten out into ovals. The only fundamental 
feature of Euclidean geometry that Kandinsky kept was the grid, which is 
practical for dividing up compositions, as exemplified in Each for Himself 
or Thirty (cat. nos. 22, 68; see also figs. [4-17), Minimalistic variations such 
as those Mondrian wrought on lines and planes did not interest Kandinsky 
in the least. It was the amorphous, the unexpected that tempted him. 

Salvador Dali's first limp paintings caught his attention when they were 
published in Surrealist reviews; Kandinsky was in Dessau and Berlin at the 
time. Reproductions of Dali's compositions were among the panoply of 
pictures that Kandinsky cut out, glued onto cardboard and labeled for use in 



34 



'■■■■■■ m h 

III! I 



II 



III 



fig. 14 

Paul Klee 

Vberschacb. 193" 

Oil on canvas 

Collection Kunsthaus Zurich 



M 8 ti Dl ^ iT k a 


% 1 H * MI a 


is p i$ E s M 


mmmm \^ m 


Les Mysteres de la Foret 





fig- 15 

Max Ernst, "Les Mysteres de la foret " in 
Minotaure, vol. 1, no. 5, May 12, 1934, 
p. 6 




ANNE BUCHEI 



S.H.TAUBEI-ARP 

► EINIU8ES - ttVlH 
GOU*C"ti - 1AHSM"ES 



fig. 16 

Invitation to exhibition at Galerie Jeanne 
Bucher, Paris, 1939, with pen and ink 
drawing by Hans Arp 
Collection Fondation Arp, Clamart 




fig. 17 
Alexander Calder 

Drawing. 1940 

Wash on paper 

Formerly Collection Willard Gallery, 

New York 



35 





fig.iS 

Salvador Dali 
Bai^neuse. 192.8 
Oil on panel 
Whereabouts unknown 

fig. 19 

Kandinsky's clipping of work by Salvador 
Dali for pedagogical documentation 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



82. Accommodations des desirs was repro- 
duced in La Revolution Sttrrealiste, 
no. 11, Dec. 15, 1929, p. 18. 

83. Two reproductions appeared in 
Cahiers d'Art, 8e annee, no. 5-6, 1933, 
p. [236] with the caption: "A sculp- 
ture by Arp that shows us what new 
direction his work has taken since 
last summer." 

84. Kandinsky cut pictures from other 
kinds of publications as well. In 1932, 
for example, he asked Zervos to send 
him a copy of a specific issue of 
Cahiers d'Art so that he could make 
clippings from it. Some of these clip- 
pings were found in the cellar of his 
apartment house in Neuilly. Mingled 
among them were exercises by his 
Bauhaus pupils; these were restored 
and some were included in the Kan- 
dinsky: Russischc '/.tit mid B.iiibaiis- 
jahre 1915-1933 exhibition of 1984 

at the Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin. 

ledee ( >zenfant, Art, Paris, 1928. 



illustrating his last courses at the Bauhaus (figs. 18, 19). The white corpuscles 
in Dali's 1929 Accommodations of Desire are closely akin to the nine am- 
niotic pouches of Each for Himself, which Kandinsky painted five years 
later. 82 Or again, we could compare the large white jagged-edged mass that 
inhabits Dali's Enigma of Desire of 1929 with Kandinsky's Black Forms on 
White of 1934 (cat. no. 45). It is also instructive to compare the same Kan- 
dinsky painting with the cutout wood reliefs that Arp was producing during 
this period (see cat. nos. 44, 49). For Kandinsky's painted black or white 
shapes, like Arp's wooden elements of the same colors, are afloat in an 
undetermined white space. During Kandinsky's visit to Paris in 1933, when 
he went to Arp's studio in nearby Meudon, he was happy to be able to 
resume a conversation he had begun with the Alsatian artist-poet in Munich 
in 1912. Once a nomadic Dadaist, Arp had settled down and experienced a 
startling conversion: he began to do a series of plaster sculptures that Zervos 
revealed to the world in Cahiers d'Art (fig. 20). 83 In these sculptures Arp was 
working on forms in gestation, just as his poetry was rooted in the idea of 
natural growth. 

Kandinsky began to investigate the same subject. He cut out pictures from 
scientific journals— microscopic cross-sections, embryos, extinct animals or 
animals of very ancient origin such as turtles. 1 " This collection was analogous 
to the one the painter Ozenfant put together to illustrate his ideas on aes- 
thetics, published as a book entitled Art?'' What Kandinsky saw and admired 
in the curving tip of a fern stem loaded with spores was the astonishing 
complexity of the forms found in nature. "There is no such thing as a 
straight line in nature," Delacroix had proclaimed, and Kandinsky took this 
aphorism to heart. He examined close-ups of insects and tried to determine 
the precise laws that determined the forms of their integuments. Through 
the publications of the Museum National d'Histoirc Naturelle, Kandinsky 
broke out of the straitjacket geometry had placed on him and reintroduced 
nature into his plastic investigations. 



36 



fig. 10 
Hans Arp 

Concretion, ca. 1933 
Whereabouts unknown 
Reproduced in Cahiers d'Art, 1933 




86. Marianne L. Teuber, "Blue Night by 
Paul Klee" in Vision and Artifact, 
Mary Henle, ed., New York, 1976, 
p. 145. 

87. Minotaure, no. 3-4, 1933, p. 75. 

88. Zen-os, "Notes sur Kandinsky," 
p. 153. 

89. Vassily Kandinsky, "Toile vide, etc.," 
Cahiers d'Art, ioe annee, no. 5-6, 
I 935>P- IJ 7> translated as "Empty 
Canvas" in Lindsay and Vergo II, 
pp. 780-783: "I look through my 
window. Several chimney stacks of 
lifeless factories rise silently. They are 
inflexible. All of a sudden smoke rises 
from a single chimney. The wind 
catches it and it instantly changes 
color. The whole world has changed." 



The spirit of the times was marked by a turning toward the cosmos- 
including comets trailing long tails— and the amorphous. In his most recent 
work Klee, like Kandinsky, seemed to take his inspiration from "Wertheimer's 
patterns as Urformen, or primordial forms. . . ." growth of forms, metamor- 
phosis of plants. 86 Photographers dwelled on Art Nouveau motifs, and Mino- 
taure published close-ups of the cast-iron entrances which Hector Guimard 
created for the Paris Metro. 87 Dali praised turn-of-the-century creations that 
had been despised at the time of their execution. Minotaure devoted several 
pages of its luxurious paper to reproductions of Dali's involuntary sculptures: 
"the shapes that toothpaste takes as it accidentally spills and sprawls become 
a delicate, ornamental stereotype." 

In his biased note on Kandinsky, Zervos decreed, paradoxically, that the 
poetic Kandinskyesque curving line originated in "a cold cigarette butt lost 
in an ashtray." 88 The wreath of smoke rising from the cigarette was a carica- 
ture of Kandinsky, of course (he was often photographed holding a cigarette, 
but it was also the evanescent ever-changing curving line that typified his 
works of the Paris period. 89 It is not just coincidence that his most accom- 
plished work of this period is entitled Courbe dominante (Dominant Curve) 
(cat. no. 6). 



Titles from the Paris Period 

As soon as he settled in Paris, Kandinsky gave a French title to every one of 
his works, regardless of whether it was a painting or a gouache. It was not 
until 1940 that he stopped assigning titles to his works on paper. Like Klee, 
he seems to have waited until each work was fully completed before finding 
a title for it. 

Kandinsky seems to have wanted to place his personal seal, so to speak, 
on each of his works, to say very clearly, this painting is by me, Kandinsky 



37 



—as in the case of Violet dominant (Dominant Violet), Trois Ovales (Three 
Ovals), Rigide et courbe (Rigid and Bent), Complexite simple (Complex- 
Simple). Each title acts as a second monogram. A title is that part of language 
which is attached to a painting once it is finished, after all is done, and which 
will forever after come before it. The title turns the painting into a product; 
the title is the label on it. The act of inscribing a new title in the Handlist is 
a rite of commemoration, a celebration, a consecration. The painting has 
been baptized— and always in the language of the country in which he painted 
it. The names Kandinsky gave his paintings are as Kandinskyesque as La 
Mariee mise a nu . . . (The Bride Stripped Bare . . .) was Duchampesque or 
Le Bel Oisean dechiffrant I'inconnu an couple d'amoureux (The Beautiful 
Bird Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers) was Miroesque. What 
exactly does this linguistic paternity consist of? Did the titles Kandinsky used 
for his Paris paintings differ fundamentally from the German titles of the 
Bauhaus period? 

Almost every one of his titles is made up of two words. In French, the 
ultimate Kandinsky title would be a noun followed by an adjective. Some- 
times he added a definite or indefinite article. Sometimes he used three words, 
but almost never more, and sometimes just one. 

Unlike Duchamp's titles, Kandinsky 's are never whimsical, never syn- 
tactical oddities. They are plain, serious and simple; they keep their promise. 
In La Figure blanche (White Figure) we do see a white shape. In Deux Points 
verts (Two Green Points) we can look for green points— and find them. 
Whereas Max Ernst and the Surrealists used their titles to add to the poetry 
of their works, Kandinsky did not indulge in farce and witticism. His straight- 
forward titles become mathematically precise when he adds— as he often does 
—a numerical adjective to replace either the article or another adjective— as 
in Deux Lignes (Two Lines), Trois Ovales (Three Ovals), Trois Etoiles (Three 
Stars), and so on. If we count, we find exactly what he announces. 

The adjectives often indicate color: L' Accent rouge (Red Accent), Accent 
vert (Green Accent), La Figure blanche, Pointes noires (Black Points). The 
colors are those of a simple palette— blue, purple, orange, green, brown, 
black, white, yellow and a great deal of red during the Paris period. They 
are different from the rot, griin or brdunlich of the Bauhaus period, which 
are broken and become violet and orange in Paris. The fact that the colors 
are mixed, or broken, by juxtaposition, is suggested by such adjectives as 
raye (striped) or bigarre (variegated). 

The title calls attention to the forms within the painting. They are always 
flat shapes— cercles (circles), carres (squares), taches (spots), fils (threads), 
rubans (ribbons), lignes (lines), zigzags. The features singled out in the title 
are not always the most important ones in the painting. In Deux Points verts. 
the dots (which are not quite green, in fact, because the lower parts of them 
are mixed with brown paint) are tiny but so exceptionally bright that they 
grab our attention. The same thing happens in Cercle et carre (Circle and 
Square). Both of those elements are smaller than the other shapes in the 
painting but colored brilliant emerald green and orange. The title is a wink 
in the viewer's direction. 



38 



Sometimes the title allows us to perceive a concealed structure. In Quatre 
Figures sur trois carves (Four Figures on Three Squares), the three squares 
virtually disappear behind the four cumbersome and complicated figures in 
the foreground, and would be invisible if the title did not make us see them. 
In other cases, the title may point out how the space within the painting is 
allocated: Sept (Seven) is indeed divided into seven parts, six strips and a 
square; in Cinq Parties (Five Parts) the canvas is divided into five parts. 

Some titles may prevent us from seeing a painting the "wrong" way, as 
in those psychological tests where one person may make out a profile among 
the dots and another will discern a different shape. In Fils fins (Thin Threads), 
were it not for the title, we would have no reason to spot the threads rather 
than the triangular spaces outlined in white or black. 

By comparing the titles from the German period with those from the 
French period, we can see that two themes disappeared. In Germany during 
the 1920s Kandinsky was still under the spell of the Symbolists' correspond- 
ences between the senses, and often included the world of sound in his titles: 
Klange (Sounds) and Drei Kliinge (Three Sounds) are examples. Later such 
allusions disappeared, along with titles that seemed to suggest that the paint- 
ing depicted a mood or a state of mind. The Paris period does not include 
many equivalents to the numerous Peaceful, Obstinate, Joyous, Affirmative, 
Serene and Inflexible works of earlier days. The Paris titles make little refer- 
ence to the natural world; Kandinsky's cosmic universe is reduced to a 
handful of sentimental phrases such as Monde bleu (Blue World), Bleu de 
ciel (Sky Blue), Crepuscule (Twilight), then Tenebres (Darkness). (These last 
two may reflect the prevailing mood during the Occupation.) 

Kandinsky did continue to use paradoxical titles in Paris, a practice he 
had begun in Berlin. During both periods he was fond of opposites and 
contradictions— incompatible feelings, contrasting colors or antonyms— ex- 
pressed in two words side by side, with or without hyphen or conjunction. 
His titles ranged from such classic oxymorons as Complexite simple (Com- 
plex-Simple), Stabilite animee (Animated Stability), Tension tranquille (Light 
Tension) and so on, to simple antithetical combinations. During his German 
period, Kandinsky had called his paintings Pointed and Round, Upside Down, 
Loose-Tight, Dark-Light, Flat-Deep, Serious joke. In France he continued in 
this vein, using such titles as Rigide et courbe (Rigid and Bent), Division- 
Unite (Division-Unity). The antithesis is sometimes conveyed in two separate 
paintings, as in Chacun pour soi (Each for Himself) and Ensemble. Does this 
type of title or of pairs of titles express a pictorial conflict? Was it really im- 
possible for Kandinsky to choose between a given thing and its opposite? 
Or was he granting himself the greatest freedom of all, the freedom to con- 
tradict? 

Other penchants become clear as well— a taste for movement, a desire 
for the lightness of levitation. First there were Stabilite animee and the Fixe 
(Fixed) works; then came the titles that defy gravity— Poids monte (Raised 
Weight), Vers le haut (Upward), Vers le bleu (Toward Blue); the playful 
acrobatics of Ascension legere (Light Ascent), L'Elan, Voltige (Balancing 
Act), La Fleche (The Arrow), Montee gracieuse (Graceful Ascent). The 



39 



sprightly, poetic quality of these brief, airy titles is always anchored in the 
pictures themselves, whereas the titles Miro or Tanguy assigned to their 
works were poetic in an extravagant and narrative way— each title was a 
story in itself. Kandinsky appreciated Arp's poetry but did not borrow any 
of the clouds, trees, roots and fruits that fill Arp's titles. 



90. Rene Char, Le Martean sans nniitre, 
Paris, 1934; Tristan Tzara, La Main 
passe, Paris, 1935. 

91. In a letter to Kandinsky dated May 
23, 1936, Fernandez wrote: "Arp and 
I translated your poem, and I sent it 
to Westerdahl." Poems in German by 
Kandinsky, including "Blick und 
Blitz," "Ergo," "S," "Erinnerungen," 
"Anders" and "Immer Zusammen," 
were published in Transition, no. 27, 
Apr.-May 1938, pp. 104-109. 

91. V.issily Kandinsky, "Mcs Gr.ivures 
sur bois," XXe Siecle, vol. 1, July 
[938, p. 31- 

') *. "Quel role joue 1'esprit poetique dans 
votre creation picturale?" Journal des 
poetes, Oct. 10, 1931, Brussels. 



Return to Poetry 

This does not mean that Kandinsky was not affected by Miro's poetic Hiron- 
delle d' amour; he simply kept poems distinct from paintings. Nor was he 
interested in illustrating other people's poems, as Arp and Ernst did. He did 
execute some drypoint frontispieces for volumes of poems by Rene Char and 
Tristan Tzara, but they were afterthoughts, added at the publisher's instiga- 
tion to increase the commercial appeal of each volume (see cat. nos. 31, 36). 90 

Kandinsky enjoyed poetry; he had written some— Klange (Sounds)— in 
earlier years, and between 1936 and 1938 he took steps to have some of those 
poems translated from German into Spanish and French. He even wrote some 
poems in French; we do not know if they were commissioned by art-review 
editors or whether he was trying to fit into the scale of values in Paris where, 
at that time, poets still ruled supreme over art criticism. He was certainly 
motivated also by a sincere desire to find a means, through poetry, to bridge 
the fatal gap between words and the plastic arts. Perhaps one way to achieve 
better understanding of Kandinsky's pictorial works from the Paris years 
would be to read his poems. But there are too few of them. What Eduardo 
Westerdahl published in Gaceta de arte and Eugene Jolas included in Tran- 
sition were translations by Louis Fernandez and Arp, respectively, of a few 
fragments from Klange. 91 Nevertheless, they took on the value of manifestos. 
Kandinsky upheld a painter's right to know how to use words: "For many 
years I have been writing 'prose poems' from time to time," he said in a text 
which he himself identified on the manuscript as "Reminiscences" but which 
San Lazzaro published in XXe Siecle as "My Woodcuts." 92 In that text Kan- 
dinsky reiterated some of the ideas he had expressed in 1930 when Pierre 
Flouquet interviewed him for his Journal des poetes. "Every true painting 
partakes of poetry, for poetry is not just a matter of words. It is achieved 
equally well by organizing colors into a certain form, a composition. . . . 
The source of both these 'languages' is the same. They have in common in- 
tuition, and the soul." 93 

The poems Kandinsky wrote in French embody a sense of absurdity and 
drollery. Like Klange, they are a painter's poems; terms relating to color 
predominate. His syntax is modest, his vocabulary simple; almost all of his 
sentences have the same construction but they avoid monotony. It is visual 
poetry, and the images follow a strange sequence. As in Klange, a narrator 
anxiously asks questions and no answer is forthcoming. These queries and 
the succession of elements, animals and human characters that appear and 
disappear cause a feeling of uneasiness. The people and the things in this 
poetry of disturbance are not what they are expected to he, do not do what 
they are expected to do. "You speak and I do not hear you," says one of the 



40 



poems. Should we take this to he a distress signal from the exiled painter? 
Knowing the very strong tendency of the German or German-speaking artists 
to associate poetry and painting, Zervos created a magnificent name for their 
type of painting, in the context of the Munich conference of 1938. In his 
Histoire de I'art contemporain, published in 1938, he called it "rebellious 
poetry." 94 What a pity he was the only one to use that term! 



94. Zervos included in the category of 
la poesie rebelle a number of Sur- 
realists who had broken with German 
orthodoxy, as well as German refu- 
gees and Spanish exiles: Max Ernst, 
Miro, Andre Masson, Yves Tanguy, 
Dali, Rene Magritte, Arp, Man Ray, 
Alberto Giacometti. Arp, for his part, 
ran a short-lived publishing house for 
German poetry called Verlag poesie, 
located at 19, rue Raffet, Paris i6e. 
On its schedule were: Arp, {Configura- 
tion, Ivan Goll, Hugo Ball, Jakob 
Van Hoddis, Carl Einstein. 

95. Kandinsky, "La Valeur d'une 
oeuvre concrete," Lindsay and Vergo 
II, p. 818: "Reason overestimated 
today, would destroy the only 'un- 
reasonable' domain left to our poor 
contemporary mankind." 

96. Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Cubism and Ab- 
stract Art, exh. cat., New York, 1936, 
p. 64: "At any rate Kandinsky's art 
between 1906-1910 was Fauve in 
character and under the strong influ- 
ence of Gauguin and Van Gogh, but 
with an arbitrariness of color and a 
deformation of 'nature' which sur- 
passed even Matisse. After 1910 his 
paintings grew more and more ab- 
stract, although recognizable objects 
did not disappear entirely from all his 
paintings until about 1914." 



Abandonment of Theory 

At about this time, Kandinsky wrote a few articles on art in which reason 
yields to feeling. He expressed his distaste for theory and for attempts to 
theorize, and urged a return to simplicity. 95 The critics spoke nonsense, so 
far as he was concerned; the Constructivists indulged in excessive rhetoric. 
Personally, he would confine his guiding principles to two or three associ- 
ations of ideas, two or three analogical images that should suffice to justify 
his pictorial work. His underlying assumption— a revival of romanticism— ■ 
constituted a reversal of what had been, after all, the avant-garde positions 
he had upheld in his teaching at the Bauhaus. Now that he had no more 
pedagogical duties, he was less systematic, less convinced. He simply wrote 
a few allusive, analogical pages— meant to be used by the art reviews as 
prefaces or articles— in which he stood by the abstract movements still active 
in free Europe, his own work setting the example. His writings were actually 
very repetitious: what he wrote for London, for instance, he had already 
written for Copenhagen. These fragmentary texts have not yet been gathered 
together completely, but we do know that they have in common an appeal 
to turn back the clock. He referred to his first essay, On the Spiritual in Art, 
the ups and downs of whose translation into Italian he was following at that 
time. 

Kandinsky turned a new gaze on his oeuvre of the already remote period 
of Munich and the Blaue Reiter. Probably the mere fact of growing older led 
him to look back, but he also felt compelled to do so for this reason: he 
wanted to prove that his abstract pictures did not date from the 1930s but 
indeed originated in 191 1, without placing his seal of approval on the pref- 
erence the art collectors showed for the Munich period over his later work. 
These two attitudes may seem contradictory but they stem from a twofold 
misunderstanding. Few people in Paris in the late 1930s had adequate knowl- 
edge to arrive at a thorough understanding of the development of German 
art; many assumed in all good faith that since no one had talked much about 
the nonobjective style until approximately 1930, it must therefore have 
originated at that time. But the museum officials abroad took the opposite 
stand: knowing what the Blaue Reiter had produced, they refused to pay 
any attention to the evolution of Kandinsky's work since he had settled 
in Paris. 

Alfred Barr, in his monumental Cubism and Abstract Art, attributed very 
little importance to Kandinsky and the invention of abstract art; instead, he 
championed Cubism in the United States. 96 Gallatin, the art collector who 
was benefactor and director of the Museum of Living Art in New York, 



4i 



97- A.E. Gallatin Collection: "Museum of 
Living Art," coll. cat., Philadelphia, 
1954, no. 78, Composition 1910 (not 
reproduced). 

98. This decision was made on Dec. 5, 
1938. 

99. Letter from Peggy Guggenheim to 
Kandinsky dated July 26, 1938: 
"Madame Burchard [the organizer of 
the exhibition] is willing to replace 
two of your early paintings by two 
more recent ones, provided Herbert 
Read, who is in charge of this sec- 
tion, agrees .... the committee be- 
lieves that its choice of earlier paint- 
ings was justified." 

100. In three successive exhibitions, groups 
of nonobjective works were shown at 
the Galerie Charpentier by Yvanhoe 
Rambosson and Fredo Sides, the offi- 
cial organizers of the Salon, and Nelly 
van Doesburg, unofficial organizer. 
Kandinsky was included in the second 
exhibition; his works were shown in 
the same exhibition as those of Bauer, 
Theo van Doesburg, Frantisek Kupka, 
Mondrian, Pevsner, Georges Van- 
tongerloo and Freundlich. 

101. Kunsthalle Bern, Wassily Kandinsky: 
Franzbsische Meister der Gegenwart, 
Feb. 2.1-Mar. 29, 1937. 

roi. In a letter to Grohmann dated Dec. 4, 
1933, Kandinsky informed him that 
he and Nina had finally chosen Paris, 
which was the art center of the world 
and offered the greatest opportunities 
to make a living by selling one's 
paintings. 

103. V Amour de I' Art was a monthly, 
headed at this time by Rene Huyghe 
and Germain Bazin, both of whom 
pursued brilliant careers at the same 
time at the Louvre. Beaux- Arts was a 
weekly sponsored and financed by the 
art dealer Georges Wildenstein; its 
Editor-in-Chief was Cogniat. 

104. Letter from Helion to Gallatin, dated 
Oct. 4, 1934. The letters to Gallatin 
cited in these notes are preserved at 
The New York Historical Society. 

105. Dufy, Roger de la Fresnaye, Othon 
Friesz, Henri Le Fauconnier, Maurice 
Utrillo and Maurice de Vlaminck 
were included together with Kan- 
dinsky in Franzosische Meister 

der Gegenwart at the Kunsthalle Bern. 
On the influence of Andre Derain on 
the artists of the 1930s, see the 
author's "Beaux-Arts en travers de la 
peinture de 1930 a 1939, ou une 
d^cennie perdue," l.es Cahiers du 
Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
no. 7-8, 1981, pp. 386-407. 



upheld Mondrian's abstraction exclusively. To get rid of the Kandinsky 
problem, he bought one of his drawings of 19 10— and no more. 97 At The Tate 
Gallery, the director, John Rothenstein, and the trustees refused the generous 
offer of a recent Kandinsky by Peggy Guggenheim's sister Hazel and arranged 
to have it replaced by a work from 1910, a sketch for Composition IV un- 
fortunately nicknamed "Cossacks." 98 Kandinsky even had trouble con- 
vincing the committee that organized the Twentieth Century German Art 
exhibition at Burlington House in 1938 to replace the earlier works they had 
selected by more recent paintings. 99 

In Paris, conversely, Kandinsky himself chose some of the Munich paint- 
ings he still owned for exhibitions of an official nature. Since he could not 
show Compositio)! IV of 1911 at the exhibition that Dezarrois organized at 
the Jeu de Paume in 1937, Kandinsky presented With the Black Arc of 1912 
(cat. no. 2) in the center of the wall space allocated to him (see cat. no. 1). 
He chose it again for the semiofficial Salon des Realites Nouuelles at the 
Galerie Charpentier. 100 When the Kunsthalle in Bern organized a major 
retrospective of his work in 1937, he unearthed his second version of Old 
Town of 1902. 101 From that point on, he overlooked his Bauhaus period and 
exhibited older works alongside his more recent ones. In 1939, for instance, 
at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher, he showed watercolqrs dating from 1910 to 
1920 together with gouaches done between 1937 and 1939. Does this neces- 
sarily give a retro flavor to his Paris period? 

Fitting into Paris 

Kandinsky had chosen Paris rather than any other possible place for his 
exile because he thought that the French capital still set the tone for artistic 
activity the world over. 102 There were many flourishing galleries in Paris, he 
believed, and artists streamed into Paris from throughout the world to find 
confirmation of their talent. Apparently Kandinsky did not take Zervos 
seriously when he warned him, between 1931 and 1933, that because of the 
Depression galleries were closing, collectors were selling, the better art re- 
views were going out of existence. 

The official art magazines— L' Amour de I' Art, the weekly Beaux-Arts— 
favored a return to figurative, traditional painting. 103 They gave artificial 
luster to the French Academy and offshoots of it such as the Prix de Rome. 
In 1937 the subject assigned to the painters competing for the Prix de Rome 
was "evocation of a pastoral scene"; the sculptors were ordered to deal with 
an even more conventional subject, "an unclothed Christian waiting to be 
martyred in the circus at Rome, in the reign of Nero." As spokesman for this 
semiofficial school of art criticism, Waldemar George inveigled himself into 
writing aesthetic-political essays that hewed to the fascist line, such as "L'Hu- 
manisme et I'idce de patrie, Valeurs franchises, Perspectives fascistes, Le 
Dilemme allemand, Metamorphoses juives, L'URSS et la culture" (Humanism 
and the Notion of Fatherland, French Values, the Fascist Outlook, the Ger- 
man Dilemma, Jewish Metamorphoses, Culture and the Soviet Union), pub- 
lished in 1936 in a volume that was indicative of the prevailing climate. 



42- 




fig. 21 

Members and friends of Cercle et Carre 
group, Paris, 1930, 1. to r.: Francisca 
Clausen, Florence Henri, Manolita Torres- 
Garcia, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Piet 
Mondrian, Hans Arp, Pedro Daura, Mar- 
cella Cahn, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Michel 
Seuphor, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gilde- 
wan, Vera Idelson, Luigi Russolo, Nina 
Kandinsky, Georges Vantongerloo, 
Kandinsky, Jean Gorin 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



106. Leger's drawings were shown at the 
Galerie Vignon, Paris, Apr. 16-18, 
1934. Concerning Leger's work of this 
period, see Fernand Leger, Li poesie 
de I'objet 192S-19 54, exh. cat., Paris, 
1981. 



Helion clearsightedly warned Gallatin in 1934: "Mediocrity is triumphant. 
Everything goes down except enthusiasm in a few studios." 104 

Luckily, Kandinsky frequented those "few studios"; he had always had 
a gift for choosing the right friends. He overlooked the artificial prestige of 
the dying Paris school whose most illustrious figures were Maurice Utnllo 
and Moise Kisling, overlooked Maurice de Vlaminck's pronouncements in 
favor of traditional and figurative painting, overlooked the unjustified halo 
awarded Andre Derain. 10 ' He said not a word about the Balthus exhibition 
organized by Pierre Loeb in 1934 at the Galerie Pierre. He left le bon ton to 
Andre Lhote; and the French expressionism of Marcel Gromaire, Georges 
Rouault and Andre Dunoyer de Segonzac did not interest Kandinsky. Like- 
wise the younger generation, laboring under the false ideal of the reactionary 
Forces nouvelles movement was of no concern to him, nor were the politi- 
cally committed painting and the return to figurative work of the Communist 
painters. In 1934 Kandinsky chose to notice only Arp's first sculptures, 
Leger's figurative but nonacademic drawings, the evolution in Giacometti's 
work: everything that was anticonformist in Paris. 106 

The newly established association Abstraction-Creation was prepared 
to welcome him, of course. It had grown out of the ruins of Cercle et carre, 
a fleeting movement (grouped around one art review and an exhibition) in 
which Kandinsky had taken part in 1930, by accident (fig. 21). Abstraction- 
Creation adopted the Cercle et carre program and continued to struggle 



43 



i\.avnal reviewed the Cercle et Carre 
exhibition in L'Intransigeant, Apr. 19, 
1930^.7: "As a reaction against what 
its apostles call the Surrealist depra- 
vation, the Cercle et Carre group is 
striving to reactivate the theme of 
artistic hygiene and 'purity' 
Along the same lines, when she de- 
cided to create the art review Axis, 
in a letter to Kandinsky dated Sept. 
26, 1934, Myfanwy Evans wrote: 
"I'm going to start an English maga- 
zine on abstract art, but abstract only, 
not Surrealism." 

10S. In a letter to Kandinsky dated Jan. 24, 
1933, Gleizes asked him to join the 
Abstraction-Creation movement, to 
send photographs of two of his works 
and to write an article on "The Rela- 
tionship Between Painting and 
Music." 

109. Open letter of resignation from 
Fernandez, Helion, Arp and Sophie 
Taeuber-Arp to Freundlich dated 
June 2, 1934: ". . . We are giving you 
notice that yesterday we sent to 
Herbin our letter of resignation as 
members of Abstraction-Creation, be- 
cause we do not agree with him on 
either the way he works in a commit- 
tee or the line he wants the association 
to follow. . . ." The complete letter, 
as well as other documents concerning 
Abstraction-Creation, is published in 
Gladys C. Fabre, Abstraction- 
Creation 1931-1936, exh. cat., 
Munster and Paris, 1978. 

no. Nina Kandinsky, p. 201. 

in. Mondrian often behaved in an 

abrupt and sometimes peculiar way. 
For instance, in a letter to Gallatin 
dated May 1, 1936, Helion wrote con- 
cerning a group presentation at the 
Galerie Pierre: "Mondrian, invited, 
could not show, having no picture 
ready." 

112. Letter from Kandinsky to Zervos 
dated Apr. 24, 1931. In his answer, 
Mondrian carefully gave a wide berth 
to Cubism and its supporters, who re- 
jected any notion of abstraction. "It 
is indeed true that the body of Cubist 
work is not such as can be continued, 
or developed, that it is perfect in itself. 
But it is not true that Cubism as a 
mode of plastic expression cannot be 
perfected or continued." "De 1" Art 
Abstrait: Reponse de Piet Mondrian," 
Cahiers a" Art, 6e annee, no. 1, 193 1, 
p. 41. 

1 1 ;. Mondrian was singled out for nega- 
tive attention by the Surrealists and 
the defenders of Cubism. Maurice 
Raynal wrote, in La Bete noire, no. 4, 
July 1936: "They [young artists) stand 
at the entrance to a dangerous dead 



against the "Surrealist depravation." 107 Abstraction-Creation was an ill- 
defined, catch-all movement devoted to an overly-negative cause, "non- 
figuration." As with all such groups, inclusion in it was selective and 
required a recommendation from one of its members. It was Gleizes who 
invited Kandinsky and Albers to join Abstraction-Creation in 193 3. I08 

Kandinsky never took part in it fully; both he and Arp found it too 
narrow-minded. The questionnaire that the group's organizers asked its 
members to fill out will give us some idea: "How do you think trees have 
influenced your work? Is a locomotive a work of art?" For a while Arp was 
the soul of the movement but its intransigeance led him to resign. 109 In her 
memoirs, Xina Kandinsky takes pleasure in recalling the time when one of 
the group's most important members came to visit Kandinsky in his studio 
in Neuilly. "I will never forget Piet Mondrian's visit to our apartment. It was 
on a glorious spring day. The chestnut trees in front of our building were 
in blossom and Kandinsky had placed the little tea-table in such a way that 
Mondrian, from where he was seated, could look out on all of their flowering 
splendor." 110 Mondrian of course insisted on taking a different seat, so as to 
turn his back on nature. 111 

Kandinsky and Mondrian were obviously incompatible. In 193 1, after 
reading Mondrian's answer to the survey organized by Cahiers d'Art under 
the overall title "Reflections on Abstract Art," Kandinsky wrote to Zervos, 
"Mondrian's answer is very interesting but I find him a little narrow-minded 
in thinking that a given form in art could be eternal. But he is very intelli- 
gent." 112 The Kandinskys paid a courtesy call to Mondrian's studio on the 
rue du Depart; it merely confirmed Kandinsky's opinion. Nina Kandinsky 
recalls, "One day we went to see him in his studio near the Montparnasse 
railway station. We were very surprised by the way his studio looked inside. 
The walls and the furniture were of exactly the same colors as Mondrian 
used in his paintings. Once we had left and were outdoors again, Kandinsky 
said, in the most astounded way, 'I really don't understand how he can paint 
amid such a uniformity of color.'" Yet, despite Kandinsky's astonishment, 
only Mondrian influenced the young abstract artists of the time (fig. 21). 113 
Helion says so explicitly. 1 " Although they respected Kandinsky himself, they 
were more surprised than convinced by his latest paintings. 

Kandinsky held a biased and pejorative view of the movement that had 
marked artistic life in France at the beginning of the twentieth century. He 
could not identify himself with the Parisian trend toward abstract painting 
that stemmed from Neo-Plasticism; as far as he was concerned, it was a con- 
sequence of Cubism. The 1930s in Paris were indeed a period of rediscovery 
and glorification of Cubism. It was felt that Cubism had to be assimilated 
as one of the basic elements of French culture, and there were several steps 
in the assimilation process: first, shows organized at the Galerie d'Art Braun 
& Cie; then semiofficial exhibitions at the new and important Galerie des 
Beaux-Arts in 1935; then, in an eleventh-hour victory, the "historic" Cubists 
were included in the official selection of works shown at Les Maitres de I'art 
independent, a large-scale contemporary art exhibition held as part of the 
Exposition Internationale} 1 - The assimilation was successful, even though 



44 



fig. 11 

Piet Mondrian 

Composition with Bhck Lines. 1934 

Oil on canvas 

Anonymous Loan, Dallas Museum of Art 



end and should beware of letting 
themselves be shut up inside it, as has 
happened to several masochistic 
practitioners of abstract an." 

114. Information from interview by the 
author, May 19S4. 

115. Paris, Petit Palais, Les Maitres de I' art 
independent, 1895-1937, June-Oct. 
1937, organized by Raymond 
Escholier. 

116. Rene Huyghe, 'L'Allemagne et 
l'Europe centrale," U Amour de I' Art, 
no. VII, Sept. 1934, p. 419: ". . . Non- 
figurative art. In 191 1 the Blaue 
Reiter was organized in Munich and 
included Franz Marc, Macke and 
Kandinsky. Before the movement 
broke up during the war, it was joined 
by Klee and Campendonk. It was ac- 
tually a second type of expressionism, 
influenced by the Cubist attempt to 
substitute pure geometrical combi- 
nations for representation, even de- 
formed representation, of reality. In 
1910 a Cubist exhibition had in fact 
taken place in Munich itself .... 
Under the impetus of French Cubism 
but with an altogether different mean- 
ing, German abstract art completed 
the ruin and disintegration of the 
visible world which expressionism 
had begun." 

11-. Ibid., p. 420. "Kandinsky was born in 
Moscow and did not really evolve his 
abstract art until the period 1914- 
1921, which he spent in Russia. His 
use of color is based on that sense of 
harmonics— vivid as rustic joy, keen, 
warm and resonant— that we find in 
Russian popular art, and in the work 
of Chagall." 

118. Lindsay and Vergo II, pp. 195, 2.08. 

119. In his answer to the Cabiers d' Art 
questionnaire (see note ro9), Arp took 
the same position: "I can understand 
why a Cubist painting is called ab- 
stract, because the parts that make up 
the object which served as model for 
the painting have been removed." 



no Cubist works as such were included in the collections brought together 
by the new Musee National d'Art Moderne until after the end of World 
War II. The assimilation came about amid a certain amount of confusion, 
since at the time there were no elementary data available on which to base a 
comparative history of contemporary art. Kandinsky was annoyed by the 
critics' attempts to pigeonhole his origins as Cubist. The confusion was due 
in part to the mistaken notions perpetuated by the grand historical synthesis 
that U 'Amour de I' Art undertook to compile in 1935. u6 The officials in charge 
of running France's museums tried to outline the great movements in modern 
art, and this synthesis was the vulgate, the truth as they saw it. They knew 
nothing about Germany. 11- 

Kandinsky, for his part, was not very familiar with Cubism. In On the 
Spiritual in Art, he had written a few brief and inaccurate formulae on 
Cubism: 

An attempt was made to constitute the picture upon an ideal plane, 
which thus had to be in front of the material surface of the canvas. 
In this way, composition with flat triangles became composition with 
triangles that had turned plastic, three-dimensional, i.e., pyramids (so- 
called "Cubism". Here also, however, inertia very quickly set in .... 
Cubism, for example, as a transitional form reveals how often natural 
forms must be forcibly subordinated to constructive ends, and the un- 
necessary hindrances these forms constitute in such cases}™ 

He felt that Cubism had exhausted itself very quickly because it had not 
achieved complete abstraction of natural forms. To Kandinsky, Cubism was 
at most an interesting moment of transition, a way-station. 119 

In 1929 Kandinsky plunged into the thick of the art world in Paris again 
by corresponding with Zervos, when he was asked to answer a survey about 
the relationship between two dates, 1830 and 1930; the questions were put 



45 



fig- 23 

Andre Dezarrois, second from left, with 
Mrs. Hermann Hubacher; Hermann 
Hubacher, sculptor; Louis Hautecoeur, 
Director, Musee du Luxembourg, Paris; 
Mr. Blondel, French charge d'affaires in 
Rome, at opening ceremony, Swiss 
Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 1938 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



O R I G I N E S 



DEVELOPPEMENT 

DE 

L'ART INTERNATIONAL 
INDEPENDANT 




EXPOSITION OBGANISEE PAR LE 

MUSEE DU JEU DE PAUME 

DU 30 JUIUET AU 31 OCTOBRE 1937 



fig-M 

Catalogue for Origines et diveloppemeni 

de I' art international independant, Musee 

du Jeu de Paume, Paris, 1937 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



izo. "Enquete 1830-1930," Ulntransigeant, 
Dec. 2, 1929, p. 5. 

tzi. "\Y. Kandinsky," Cahiers d'Art, ioe 
annee, no. 1-4, 1935, pp. 53-56. 

1 ii. A copy of this letter, signed by Nina 
Kandinsky, is preserved in the Kan- 
dinsky Archive. 

[23. Letter from Dezarrois to the French 
Director General of Fine Arts, dated 
Feb. 24, 1937, preserved in the 
Archives Nationales, Paris: "I have 
already had the honor of calling your 
attention to the works which Kan- 
dinsky, the American Cubist painter, 
exhibited at the galerie Buchet [sic] 
at the end of the year." 

1 24. This exhibition, Origines et devel- 
opponent de I'art international in- 
dependant, u.is held at the Musee du 
Jeu de Paume, July 16-Oct. 31, 1957. 



by Maurice Raynal and E. Teriade, both of them critics on the daily paper 
Ulntransigeant, and both of them supporters of Cubism. Kandinsky's answer 
joined together different tendencies, an indication that his ideas on Cubism 
were unclear. "In Cubism and in absolute and abstract painting I see a first 
attempt to bring two enemies— classic form and romantic form— together to 
make a single content." 120 

In a note he wrote in 1935 for Cahiers d'Art, it is curious to see how, 
for thematic reasons, he effected a rapprochement between Cubism and his 
own guiding principle of synthesis in the arts: "It is no mere coincidence 
that the Cubist painters repeatedly used musical instruments and objects 
related to music— a guitar, a mandolin, a piano, notes, etc. Their choice was 
undoubtedly unconscious; it was dictated by the close relationship between 
music and painting." 121 But in a letter Nina wrote to John Evans, a very 
wealthy potential patron of the arts, Kandinsky had her say very bluntly that 
"Cubism started at the same time [as abstract art]. It is the last note of the 
19th century, its methods are destructive. Abstract art destroys nothing and 
only searches for positive creation, for our day and for the future. It is an 
art which is pure, healthy and young." 122 

Who was prepared to listen to such language? Certainly not one curator 
of one French museum. In 1937 Kandinsky had occasion to work with 
Dezarrois, curator at the Musee du Jeu de Paume (fig. 2.3). 123 The idea was to 
organize, in only a few weeks, an exhibition that would run concurrently 
with the official contemporary art show being held at the Petit Palais— and 
which refused to accept entries from any of the painters who had recently 
settled in Paris, that is, all of the abstract and Surrealist painters (fig. 24). I24 
Kandinsky fought on behalf of the abstract painters; he submitted lists of 
names and naturally he helped to write the text on art theory for the show's 
modest catalogue (fig. 25). Though more prudent than ever, lie offered 



46 




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fig- 15 

Installation view and catalogue, Realites 

Nourelles, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 

1939 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



abundant explanations, for Dezarrois had a tendency to accept everything 
and mix everything together in a way that was favorable to Cubism. On May 
io, 1937, Kandinsky wrote to him: 

The only point on which I have any doubt as to accuracy is the difference 
betiveen two movements. Cubism and Abstract Art (which I prefer to 
call Concrete Art); both of them stemmed from Cezanne [this is a con- 
cession on Kandinsky's part] but later they developed independently 
from one another. Both movements came into the world at almost the 
same time: 191 1. Cubism is something like a brother to abstract art but 
by no means its father. 

In his catalogue, which was very brief, Dezarrois situated abstract art 
far behind Cubism and Surrealism. Worse still, the paintings by Kandinsky 
included in it were not even dated. So on July 31 Kandinsky wrote another 
letter— of protest this time— to the obstinate curator. 

You remember when we were sitting at the entrance to your museum. 
I told you that "among other sources" for my "abstract form" was 
Cezanne's work, but that my work had never had anything to do with 
Cubism . . . . I was especially struck by Matisse's paintings in 190J-06. 
[Kandinsky preferred to say he was close to Fauvism.] / still remember 
very clearly a "decomposed" carafe he did, with the stopper painted quite 



47 



far from where "it should be" that is, in the neck of the carafe. In that 
painting by Matisse, the "natural relationships" ivere destroyed. [He 
notes this so as all the better to refute any Cubist influence whatsoever.] 
At the same time I had found the courage to do my first abstract painting, 
without ever having seen a Cubist painting. It was in 1912 that for the 
first time I saw a photograph of a Picasso (Woman with Guitar) and 1 
reproduced it in my book "Der blaue Reiter." In the same book there 
was a reproduction of my large "abstract" canvas entitled Composition 
V, that I had painted in i<)ii. 



125. Letter from Kandinsky to Chadourne 
dated Apr. 1, 1937. 

116. Letter from James Johnson Sweeney 
to Kandinsky dated Dec. 30, 1935: 
"Another point ... I seem vaguely to 
rememher that on my visit to you, you 
mentioned the death of the painter 
Malewitch. Perhaps I was mistaken 
in this. If my recollection is not at 
fault, would it be too much to ask of 
you to write me a few details con- 
cerning Malcwitch's death— where 
he died and what date . . . ." 

127. Cesar Domela, "Malewitsch in me- 
moriam," Plastique, no. 1, Spring 
1937. P- v 

128. Letter from Kandinsky to Dezarrois 

dated May to, 1937. 



But in Paris, in 1937, who had ever seen the almanac of the Blaue Reiter} 
Even Herbert Read, in his 1934 book Art Now, overlooked that movement 
completely— he did not mention it once. It was of vital importance for Kan- 
dinsky to convince the public that he had painted abstract canvases as early 
as 1911. But Dezarrois turned a deaf ear. He did not even allow Kandinsky 
to show at the Jeu de Paume his Composition IV of 19 11, which Dezarrois 
considered still figurative. 

In another attempt to prove his all-important point, Kandinsky insisted 
that La Marianne, a daily paper that was sometimes receptive to noncon- 
formist painting, reproduce his With the Black Arc of 1912. (cat. no. z), 
rather than some other painting. Kandinsky made the same statement to the 
journalist Paul Chadourne as he had to Dezarrois. "Allow me to point out 
the vital difference between my 'non-figurative' form and the other 'abstract' 
forms such as 'Constructivism,' 'Neo-Plasticism,' etc., whose roots go back 
to Cubism. Cubism never had any influence over the way my painting de- 
veloped. My 'sources' are Cezanne's painting, instead, and later 'Fauvism,' 
especially Matisse." 125 

As concerned as Kandinsky was to disassociate himself from Cubism, he 
was equally eager to keep his distance from another category in which the 
critics tended to put him, Constructivism. Kazimir Malevich's name was not 
very familiar at the time. Not many people were even certain whether he 
was alive. 126 But several artists, Domela in particular, were eager to make 
works from the Constructivist period known in the magazine Plastique. 121 
Thus, Kandinsky had to defend himself against the pernicious tendency to 
assimilate him with the Constructivists. (For a while he had even been con- 
fused with Chagall.) Kandinsky took up the matter in his written lecture to 
Dezarrois on modern painting. "This abstract (or concrete) art I am talking 
about points in two directions or, as we might say, to a sort of subsection 
under the name Constructivism (the two Russians, Malevich and Tatlin, are 
examples). The Constructivists generally say they originated in Cubism; then 
they took Cubism so far that they excluded all 'sentiment' or 'intuition' from 
it, and they try to arrive at art solely by means of 'reason' and mathematical 
calculation." 128 

He continues the discussion when writing to Herbert Read. "I he differ- 
ence between abstract art (in general) and Constructivism (one part of ab- 
stract art) is obvious. My point of view is that Constructivism is one of the 
means by which to paint a painting. A painting has to be constructed. But 



48 



129. Letter from Kandinsky to Read dated 
Apr. 2, 1938. Copy preserved in the 
Kandinsky Archive, MNAM. 

130. Letter from Kojeve to Kandinsky 
dated May 29, 1930. 

131. Letter from Kandinsky to Bruguiere 
dated Dec. 1, 1943. 

132. The informal exhibition was held 
June 14-29, 1935, and included works 
by B. G. Benno, Fernandez, Gonzalez, 
Helion, Henri Laurens, Leger, Lip- 
chitz and Magnelli in addition to 
Kandinsky and Picasso. 

133. Letter from Kandinsky to Kojeve 
dated June 26, 1930. 

134. In a letter to Grohmann dated June 
30, 1934, Kandinsky wrote that he 
was about to visit Leger in half an 
hour. In a letter to Grohmann the 
next day Kandinsky wrote that every- 
thing went very well at Leger's. Leger 
made a strong impression on him and 
he felt that Leger was certainly a 
"great, hearty fellow" with strong, 
healthy roots. 



that does not necessarily mean that a painting that has been constructed is 
art. It is a somewhat complicated business, yet at the same time it is very 
simple. The path I chose was different: naturalism, expressionism, abstract 
art." 129 

Such agitation over a matter of dates seems pointless to us today because 
we now have more ample knowledge of Kandinsky's oeuvre thanks to: the 
revelations afforded by the Gabriele Miinter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung 
after it was incorporated into the Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Mu- 
nich in 1957*; the reappearance of paintings in the museums of Soviet Russia; 
and the transformation of the Solomon R. Guggenheim collection into a per- 
manent museum. What Kandinsky was defending in the 1930s seems obvious 
to us today, and we are sorry to see how much energy he expended on the 
struggle to establish his identity. It is no less true, however, that the monstres 
sacres of Cubism were acutely aware of their historical importance and lorded 
it over Paris, from which they were never forced into exile. They looked 
down to some extent on this Germanified Russian who claimed to have in- 
vented a new approach to painting all by himself. Braque's glory was great 
and growing greater. The ex-Cubist received nothing but compliments on his 
recent works from everyone in Kandinsky's entourage. Even Kandinsky's 
own nephew Kojeve wrote him in Berlin in 1930: "I've been to see the Braque 
show twice. I really like Braque's paintings, especially the largest ones." 130 
Kandinsky learned to be more circumspect about Braque, now that he had re- 
verted to what the public liked. In 1943 he wrote to Bruguiere: "The large 
Braque room at the Salon d'Automne had nothing new to offer. Nowadays 
Braque is considered the greatest French painter, and all they talk about is 
true French painting— a very patriotic spirit!" 131 

As for Picasso, he and Kandinsky never visited each other's studios and 
never ran into each other. Picasso had been reigning supreme over Paris 
for years. His papiers colles were rediscovered and his retrospective at the 
Galeries Georges Petit in 1932 was an event. Through certain friends they had 
in common, such as Julio Gonzalez, it sometimes came about that Kandinsky 
and Picasso took part in the same group shows. A Picasso and a Kandinsky 
were reproduced on the same page in the Abstraction-Creation magazine. 
Each of them submitted a work to a show organized by Castelucho- Diana, 
the art-supplier on the boulevard Montparnasse. 132 Both were represented at 
the Club des Architectes at the 1937 Exposition Internationale. They both 
showed in Dezarrois's exhibition at the Jeu de Paume. But that was all. Yet 
they had two things in common: both owned works by the Douanier Rous- 
seau, and both remained in Paris during the German Occupation. Kandinsky 
did not argue with Picasso's supremacy. In 1930, when Kojeve went to see 
the exhibition of Picasso's series of large nudes on the beach, and sent some 
acid comments on them to his uncle, Kandinsky gently reprimanded him. 
"Like you, I have the feeling Picasso is just 'having fun,' but he is a great 
master, and we have to forgive him for his mischievous jokes." 133 

Kandinsky liked Leger much better. 134 When Kandinsky launched a cam- 
paign to save the Bauhaus in Berlin, Leger was one of the few artists in Paris 
to respond— by sending a small painting as a lottery prize. Leger and Zervos 



49 




fig. 26 

Marinetti and the Kandinskys at Galerie 
Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1935, with 
Futurists, 1. to r.: Fillia, Filippo De 
Filippis, Pippo Oriani, Nino Rosso, 
Giuseppe Rosso and Franco Costa 



Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



135. Kandinsky wrote about these lec- 
tures in a letter to Albers dated May 
M> T 5>35- 

136. Letter from Giuseppe Ghiringhelli to 
Kandinsky dated June 19, 1934: "You 
may indeed say that our gallery is a 
fascist gallery! . . . Our modernity is 
absolutely and typically fascist." 
Kandinsky quoted this in a letter to 
Grohmann dated June 30, 1934. Ghir- 
inghelli ran the Galleria del Milione 
in Milan. In 1934 ne organized a Kan- 
dinsky exhibition and a show of en- 
gravings by Albers, the catalogue for 
which has a short introductory text 
by Kandinsky which is not included 
in the collections of his complete writ- 
ings; see // Milione: Bolletino delta 
Galleria del Milione, no. 34, Dec. 23, 
1934, p. 3. An informal group show at 
del Milione m 1938 included works by 
Arp, Domela, Kandinsky, Magnelli, 
Kurt Seligmann, Taeuber-Arp and 
Paule Vezelaj ; sec // Milione: Bolle- 
tino delta Galleria del Milione, no. sK, 
Mar. 5, 1938. 



were close friends, and this made it easier for Kandinsky and Leger to get 
along; together they gave their support to a series of lectures delivered in 
Paris by the Italian Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. 13 '' But what espe- 
cially appealed to Kandinsky were Leger's frank way of speaking and his 
stature as an artist. Leger's work itself, authentic though it was, did not be- 
long to Kandinsky's universe. Leger did not actually paint much during this 
period; he traveled back and forth three times between the United States and 
Europe, did a great deal of drawing, was involved in social and political dis- 
cussions and was interested in mural art. 

Because Kandinsky unconditionally supported all of the verbose lectures 
delivered by the Italian Futurists, who were themselves embroiled in the 
fascist propaganda machine, many poets and artists suspected him of har- 
boring reactionary sympathies. 136 There are several reasons why Kandinsky 
gave Marinetti such a hearty welcome (fig. z6). It was partly based on fidelity 
to artistic affinities that had become apparent before World War I, affinities 
the Surrealists knew nothing about and therefore could not take into account. 
Moreover, through Marinetti, Kandinsky doubtless also was hoping to keep 
open the possibility of organizing some shows of his work in Italy. 137 And 
finally, Kandinsky and the Italian Futurists thought alike on several points 



5° 



fig. 17 

First Italian translation, by G. A. Colonna 
di Cesaro, of Kandinsky's Concerning the 
Spiritual in Art, Rome, 1940 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



* kMDINSKI 




DELLA 5PIRITIAIIIA NELLAKTE 


I'AHIH Of ULM1 Ml Mill 












wow* ot -laec. - nc*u 


« 



13 



In a letter to Grohmann dated Dec. z, 
1935, Kandinsky said he hoped to go 
to Rome, where the fascists had guar- 
anteed that they would organize an 
exhibition— until the war with 
Ethiopia broke out. 

138. Letter from Kandinsky to Grohmann 
dated May 11, 1938. Marinetti lec- 
tured with great success at the Ecole 
du Louvre, on the subjects of Futur- 
ism and aeropainting. He visited 
Kandinsky together with Dezarrois, 
who gave him a lecture on American 
painting. 

139. Letter from Kandinsky to Dezarrois 
dated May 10, 1937. Prampolini, who 
lived in Paris in 1935, participated in 
V Art italien XIXe et XXe siecles 
held at the Musee du Jeu de Paume 
from May-July 1935. He showed no. 
101, Apparition des etres aerodyna- 
miques, no. 103, Simultaneity des 
elements aeriens and no. 104, 

V Automatisme quotidien. 

140. Letter from Kandinsky to Grohmann 
dated Sept. 19, 1938. 

Twenty-seven letters to Kandinsky 
from di Cesaro, dated 1927-40 are 
preserved in the Kandinsky Archive. 

Rene Crevel, "Discours au peintre," 
Commune, no. 13, June 1935, 
pp. 1135-1141. 

143. Nina Kandinsky, p. 184. 



141 



14 



of ideology (fascism, after all, claimed to save mankind from the more ma- 
terialistic doctrines) and aesthetics; the Futurists' aeropainting, being dy- 
namic and optimistic, was somewhat similar to Kandinsky's own work from 
the Paris period. 158 So it is not surprising that Kandinsky recommended one 
of the Italian Futurists for inclusion in Dezarrois's Jeu de Paume exhibition: 
"We must have an Italian Futurist, and I recommend Prampolini, whose 
work I'm sure you must be familiar with. A serious and gifted artist." 139 
Kandinsky continued to befriend the Futurists even though they supported 
Italy's colonial war. He admired the orderliness that prevailed in Italy when 
he vacationed in Leghorn in 1936. 1)0 Not until 1939 and 1940, when his 
Italian translator di Cesaro urged him to take refuge in Italy, did Kandinsky 
declare himself clearly in favor of France— where he had just been natu- 
ralized (fig. 2.7). ln 

Kandinsky's strong Futurist sympathies quickly soured his relationship 
with the Surrealists, despite the enthusiastic reception they had given him 
when he first settled in Neuilly. The polemical essayists in the Surrealist and 
Communist magazines ridiculed the Futurists. Rene Crevel, for instance, 
vituperated against Marinetti and the Italian Futurist academicians; in 1935 
he topped off with an aluminum hat an imaginary and gaudy uniform he 
thought appropriate for them. 142 He lashed out at Enrico Prampolini, who 
laid himself open to criticism by giving such paradoxical titles as Believe, 
Obey, Combat and Book and Rifle to paintings he did for fascist youth 
centers. The Kandinskys' apolitical attitude and their very bourgeois life- 
style in Paris kept Breton's faithful followers at a distance for some years. 

Yet the very complete collections of such reviews as La Revolution Sur- 
realiste and Le Surrealisme an Service de la Revolution in Kandinsky's library 
would seem to prove that Kandinsky kept abreast of the movement while 
living in Dessau. And, on the part of the Surrealists themselves, Breton ac- 
tively supported Kandinsky's first exhibitions in Paris, and bought two water- 
colors from the small Kandinsky show at the Galerie Zak in 1929. 143 Here 
again, Zervos acted as middleman. He was determined to bring Kandinsky 
and the Surrealists together at all costs. In 1932 he wrote Kandinsky that he 
intended: 

. . . to have six volumes printed, one for each of the best poets living 
today: Andre Breton, Eluard, Tristan Tzara, Beret, Arp and Httgnet .... 
It will be a 50-page volume, with three etchings. When Eluard himself 
saw the etching you had done for it, he asked me if he could count on 
you to illustrate his volume. Eluard is the best poet we have today. Ber- 
sonally, I really must urge you very strongly to work, with the poets I 
have chosen .... The illustrators we have selected, aside from yourself, 
should be Klee, Miro, Arp, Dali and Masson. 

And Kandinsky was just about to start illustrating Eluard's poems, which 
he liked very much, when Zervos announced that he had to abandon the 
project for lack of a sponsor. In 1933, on Breton's advice, Char asked Kan- 
dinsky to send him an etching for an edition of Char's Le Marteau sans 
maitre (cat. nos. 31, 32). 



51 



144- Paris, Association Artistique Les Sur- 
independants, Oct. 27-Nov. 27, 1933, 
organized by Rene Mendes-France. 

145. Letter from Arp to Kandinsky dated 
Nov. 12, 1933. This letter, which was 
written in German, is published in full 
in French translation in Hans/ Jean 
Arp: le temps des papiers dechires, 
exh. cat., Paris, 1983, p. 36. 

146. Jean Cassou, "Dada et le surrealisme," 
V Amour del' Art, no. 3, Mar. 1934, 
PP- 337-344- 

147. L'Intransigeant, Dec. 2, 1929, p. 5. 

148. In a lecture delivered on Apr. 30, 1936, 
as "La Situation actuelle de la peinture" 
in Renouveau estbetique, Anatole 
Jakovski noted: "The present situa- 
tion is one of stagnation, which is 
worsened by a great many intestine 
quarrels. A sign of the times: Mr. 
Andre Breton, leader of the Surrealist 
party, who delivered a lecture last 
year in Prague, is indignant about the 
fact that in many countries abstract 
works have filtered through and 
mingle freely with orthodox Sur- 
realist works. In order to prevent 
further occurrences of what he 
considers a regrettable mismatch, he 
suggests placing a special stamp on 
the Surrealist works, of the sort that 
might be used to certify, 'This is a 
Paramount film.' " 

149. Letter from Kandinsky to Grohmann 
dated Jan. 28, 1936, and Nina Kan- 
dinsky, p. 196. 

150. Letter from Kandinsky to Albers 
dated May 24, 1935. 

151. Letter from Helion to Gallatin dated 
Apr. 24, 1936. 

151. Letter from Kandinsky to Thiemann 
dated Mar. 14, 1938. In a letter to 
Grohmann dated Jan. 28, 1936, 
Kandinsky wrote that the Surrealists 
did not even want to look at Albers's 
recent engravings; the only exceptions 
the Surrealists made, he said, were for 
Arp and himself. 

153. See L'Intransigeant, Apr. 26, 1930: 
"The Revue de I'art concret has pub- 
lished its introductory issue: Carlsund, 
Doesburg, Helion, Tutundjan and 
Want/. . . . ." In that issue the signa- 
tories proclaimed as the second 
maxim of Art Concret that "a work of 
.in must lie entirely conceived and 
shaped by the mind before it is carried 
out. It must not receive any formal 
'information' either from nature, 
from sensitivity or from sentimen- 
tality." Since in their work Arp and 
Kandinsky flatly contradicted these 
principles, both painters completely 
distorted van Doesburg's flimsy 
definition of Art ' oncret. 



The Surrealists appreciated Kandinsky's work and asked him to show 
some of it in their selection at the sixth Salon des Surindependants. 144 Arp 
complimented him on what he saw there. "November 12, 1933 . . . your 
paintings hang beautifully. You lead the Surrealist procession. In addition 
to the watercolors, there are also two small oils. Unfortunately, there is no 
large painting." 143 Having participated in this Salon, he was immediately 
assimilated with the Surrealists, and in 1934 when Cassou, who reported on 
artistic events in Paris, was asked by the magazine U Amour de I' Art to write 
a general review of Surrealism, he noted, "Situated alongside this movement 
are a group of German artists and the Germanified Russian, Kandinsky." 146 

While it is true that Kandinsky's conservative politics disappointed his 
potential friends, it is equally true that the Surrealists themselves did not live 
up to everything he had been led to expect by reading their magazines. He 
suffered from a delusion, and it led to misunderstanding. Kandinsky con- 
sidered the Surrealist movement more literary than pictorial and he adopted 
a wait-and-see attitude. In 1929, answering a survey on neoromanticism con- 
ducted by L'Intransigeant, he dealt cautiously with Surrealism. "An important 
postwar development is Surrealism, which tries to create a new relationship 
with nature; the Surrealists may look upon abstract forms as cold .... It 
seems that the Surrealists prefer a more romantic treatment." 1 ' 7 

By 1936 Kandinsky felt even more reserved about the Surrealists and, in 
his written lecture to Dezarrois, he carefully distinguished between himself 
and them. "The Surrealist movement is much younger [than abstract paint- 
ing], but it is quite well-known even so in widely differing countries and 
possesses a considerable literature." Although Kandinsky did not participate 
in the great Surrealist retrospectives— in London in 1936, then at the Galerie 
des Beaux- Arts in Paris in 1938— he lent reproductions of his works to two 
Danish Surrealist-oriented magazines, Konkretion and Linien, and wrote arti- 
cles for them. The comic-opera war between the "Abstraits" and the "Surreal- 
istes" in Paris either did not exist or changed its rules from time to time. 148 
Moreover Kandinsky was slightly disappointed by the Surrealists 1 rigorous 
orthodoxy and their preference for libidinous themes. He wrote to Groh- 
mann, saying he found the earlier Dadaists more authentic than the Surreal- 
ists, who needed to be titillated like a bunch of old men. 149 The notion of 
"inner dictation" or "inner necessity" so dear to Kandinsky had nothing to 
do with the Surrealists' automatic writing, nor were his terms "irrational" 
or "nonrational" equivalent to their use of the word "unconscious." 150 

Nonetheless, relations between Kandinsky and the Surrealists were not 
at a standstill; one part of the Surrealist group was relatively close to Kan- 
dinsky in his preoccupation with the exclusively plastic aspect of art. A new 
schism had come about in the Surrealists' ranks as the result of two develop- 
ments: the Stalinist purges in the Soviet Union and the hard-line Commu- 
nists' absolute insistence on figurative art. Louts Aragon hewed to the rigor- 
ous line laid down by the French Communist party, while Breton went over 
to the Trotskyite dissidents. The plastic artists backed away from a move- 
ment that had been split open by too many literary and political quarrels. 
Writing to Gallatin in 1936, Helion rightly noted that the Surrealists' shows 



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fig. 28 

Catalogue for Kandinsky exhibition at 
Guggenheim Jeune, London, 1938 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

fig. 29 

Catalogue for Liniens, organized by Ejler 

Bille, Bjerke Petersen and Richard 

Mortensen of periodical Linien, Denmark, 

1937 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 

fig. 30 

Kandinsky's clipping of work by Marcel 
Duchamp for pedagogical documentation 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



154. Kandinsky also altered for his own 
purposes the word "alogic," which 
had been applied to Malevich's work 
between 1912 and 1914. 

155. Letter from Kandinsky to Dezarrois 
dated May 10, 1937. 



brought together works by artists who had all just left the movement or were 
about to leave it. "In London a big Surrealist show will gather people having 
left the group, such as Giacometti and practically Miro and Arp." 151 This 
development helped to bring the Abstraits and the Surrealistes together in 
magazines that had sworn to exclude the Surrealists' theories. In this way, 
first Axis, then Plastique, reconciled figures who had seemed estranged. 

Pierre Loeb's gallery and the Galerie Jeanne Bucher were havens of 
peace and reconciliation, as witness this letter from Breton to Kandinsky, 
possibly written in 1936, more likely in 1939. "I haven't had the time to 
tell you what a strong spell the works I saw chez Madame Bucher cast over 
me. They are made of the essence of all the times we have been happy and 
will be happy again." Kandinsky, meanwhile, had learned to look distrust- 
fully on the fickle Surrealists. To Thiemann, a former Bauhaus student who 
had remained in Germany, he wrote, "I will refrain from speaking badly 
of the Surrealists. A. Breton (the Fiihrer of the movement) wrote a very 
good article on my painting in my English catalogue, which I am enclosing. 
[This was the catalogue of the show Peggy Guggenheim organized in London 
in 1938 (fig. 28).] Generally speaking, the Surrealists are against abstract art; 
the only exceptions they make are Arp and myself." 152 In 1940 the Surrealists 
—poets, painters and dealers— left Paris and went either to the United States or 
into the French maqnis. 

Since Kandinsky was not satisfied by either blinkered abstraction or 
coarse Surrealism, he looked for a third option, a synthesis that would recon- 
cile the qualities of both (fig. 29). He proposed Concrete Art, a composite 
term that was not new. Van Doesburg, the most violently opinionated of the 
abstract painters, had suggested it in 1930. 153 Gradually Arp and Kandinsky 
had altered its meaning by reviving the alogic that had been the strong point 
of Dadaism. 154 In his written lecture on art history to Dezarrois, Kandinsky 
had delivered a veritable eulogy for Dadaism (fig. 30). 155 



53 



156. In a letter to Grohmann dated Jan. 
28, 1936, Kandinsky reported that 
Dadaism was becoming fashionable 
again in Paris. Kandinsky's judgement 
was probably based on the fact that 
various articles on the movement 
entitled "L'Esprit Dada dans la Pein- 
ture," by Georges Hugnet had ap- 
peared in Cahiers d' Art: "I. Zurich & 
New York," 7e annee, no. 1-2, 1932, 
pp. 57-65; "II. Berlin (1918-1922)," 

7e annee, no. 6-7, 1931, pp. 281- 
[285]; "III. Cologne et Hanovre," -e 
annee, no. S-10, 1932, pp. 358-364; 
"(Fin)," ne annee, no. 8-10, 1936, 
pp. 267-U72]. 

157. Zervos, "Notes sur Kandinsky," 
p. 154. 

158. For example, "L'Art concret," XXe 
Steele, 1938. In this article, Kandinsky 
specified that concrete art was thriv- 
ing, especially in the free countries. 

159. Letters of protest from Arp and Jean 
Gorin to Arts, published July 6, 1945, 
p. 2. 

160. London Bulletin, no. 14, May 1939, 

p. 2. The text was published in French 
because this issue of the Bulletin 
served as the catalogue for the exhibi- 
tion when it was presented in Paris. 
See XXe Siecle, no. 1, 1939: "Gug- 
genheim-Jeune is presenting an 
abstract art show in Paris and 
London: May 23-June 14 at the 
Galerie de Beaune, 25, rue de Beaune, 
in Paris, and May 10-31 [sic] at the 
main gallery in London." 

161. Kunsthalle Basel, Konkrete Kunst, 
May 18-Apr. 16, 1944; Paris, Galerie 
Rene Drouin, Art concret, June 15- 
July 13, 1945. 

162. Leon Degand, "Le Sens des mots" in 
Les Lettres francaises, June 23, 1945, 
p. 4. 

163. In a letter to Grohmann dated June 
25, 1943, Kandinsky wrote that the 
next day he would attend the opening 
of the Bauchant show at the Galerie 
Jeanne Bucher. 

164. Paris, Salle Royale, Les Maitres popti- 
Lures de la realite, 1937, for example. 
Kandinsky lent Rousseau's Paysage 
aux ponies blanches (cat. no. 21) 

to this exhibition. 



/ have the impression I did not see Dada on your list, yet Dada was un- 
doubtedly the starting point of Surrealism. Perhaps unwittingly, the 
Dadaists fought against logic by replacing it with "alogic." This fact is 
of the greatest importance in art history because art has never been 
"logical" and the laws that govern art are often very different from those 
that govern mathematics. In my opinion, the most important Dada 
artists were Arp and Duchamp (the theoretician was Hugo Ball). Arp 
should be classified now as a "concrete sculptor." 1 '' 6 

Did Zervos have a premonition when he applied the word "concrete" 
to Kandinsky's work shortly after the artist moved to Paris? In his article of 
1934, Zervos remarked how "the spectacle of nature directly influenced 
Kandinsky's work and always prevented him from going astray into abstrac- 
tion without a concrete basis." 157 

Despite several articles he published in the new art review XXe Siecle, 
Kandinsky was always vague about what the term "concrete" covered; 158 
and Arp, the poet, did not clarify the issue. From now on, Arp declared, he 
intended to produce only "paintings and sculptures of nature which would 
no longer be abstract but rather, creations as sensual and concrete as a leaf 
or a stone." 159 In attempting to justify his change in terminology, Kandinsky 
confined his explanations to rather Franciscan aphorisms. In the short preface 
he wrote for the Abstract and Concrete Art exhibition held in London in 
1939 and organized jointly by Peggy Guggenheim and the Galerie de Beaune 
in Paris, Kandinsky was simplicity itself. 160 "One must never set up philo- 
sophical 'barriers' between a work and what is inside of it. In short, one 
must be naive." And indeed, he ended his plea somewhat naively with a 
paraphrase of the Scriptures. "You will recall who said, 'Be simple, like 
unto the little children.'" 

The notion of concrete art did not survive the second half of the 1940s. 
It did set the tone for three or four Konkrete Kunst exhibitions at the Kunst- 
halle Basel in 1944 and an Art Concret show at the Galerie Rene Drouin in 
Paris in 1945. 161 Then, over Arp's protests, it was torn apart by the art critics 
—both the defenders of nonfigurative art, such as Leon Degand, and its de- 
tractors. 162 

The simplicity Kandinsky referred to in writing about concrete art per- 
vaded the spirit of the times; spontaneous, naive art was all the rage in Paris. 
Jeanne Bucher, while continuing to defend Kandinsky and Arp, launched 
two naive painters, Andre Bauchant and Auguste Dechelette. 163 Andry-Farcy, 
curator of the Musee de Peinture et de Sculpture de Grenoble, organized offi- 
cial shows devoted entirely to the naive school, where painting "came from 
the heart" and triumphed over pure reason. 164 Wilhelm Uhde, who had been 
one of the first collectors of Cubist art and had "invented" the Douanier 
Rousseau, set the tone and legitimized the new fad that was sweeping Paris, 
and Paris only. The time would come when people would praise to the skies 
drawings by madmen and children. 

Kandinsky had no taste for naive art or amateur painters. He had kept a 
few children's drawings he had used to illustrate his courses at the Bauhaus, 



54 



165. Kandinsky, "La Valeur d'une oeuvre 
concrete," Lindsav and Vergo II, 

p. 815. 

166. These paintings are reproduced and 
identified as belonging to Kandinsky 
in Cahiers d'Art, 9e annee, no. 9-10, 
1934, p. [169]: "Two unpublished 
paintings by Henri Rousseau belong- 
ing to Mr. W. Kandinsky." The publi- 
cation of the paintings here completes 
the cataloguing of the Douanier's 
work begun by Zervos in his 
Rousseau, Paris, 1917. 

167. Letter from Andry-Farcy to Kan- 
dinsky dated Sept. 1943. 

168. Exposition du centenaire de Rous- 
seau, Dec. 22, 1944-Jan. 2.1, 1945. 
Catalogue by Anatole Jakovski, 
preface by Paul Eluard. 

169. Baubaus Zeitschrift fiir Gestaltung, 
Dec. 3,1931, p. [2]. 



and he still retained a deep feeling for folk art. He went to see the Russian art 
exhibition at the Jeu de Paume because it included a section on folk art, and 
he liked to look at the toys displayed in the windows of the Printemps de- 
partment store at Christmas time. But he did not reduce Rousseau's genius 
to the level of naive painting. 

Like Pierre Loeb, Kandinsky made a distinction between the Douanier 
Rousseau and the other naive painters, and indeed used the Douanier and 
his work to support his statements in favor of Concrete Art. "We cannot but 
wholeheartedly love the pure faith of Henri Rousseau, who was entirely 
persuaded that he painted according to the dictates of his dead wife. Artists 
know well this mysterious voice which guides their brush and measures the 
design and the color." 16 '' Rousseau was doubtless the only French painter 
he could refer to for purposes of justifying his theory of "inner necessity," 
and his was probably the only painting that did not disappoint Kandinsky. 
He held onto his two Rousseaus even during the dark days of the Occupa- 
tion. 166 When financial problems became pressing, he did consider, briefly, 
selling The Painter and His Model (cat. no. 173), and offered it to Andry- 
Farcy, who might have bought it for the museum in Grenoble. 167 He also 
talked of selling it to Grohmann. But nothing came of either plan, and both 
this Douanier Rousseau and the other one, The Poultry Yard (cat. no. 172)— 
which had been included in the Blane Reiter show in Munich— were ultimately 
included in Nina Kandinsky's bequest to the Musee National d'Art Moderne 
in Paris. By a remarkable coincidence, just as Kandinsky was exhibiting in the 
last one-man show held during his lifetime, at the Galerie l'Esquisse in 1944, 
the Musee de la Ville de Paris reopened for the first time after the liberation 
of Paris with a Douanier Rousseau retrospective. 168 At the time Kandinsky 
died, the Douanier's native city, Laval, decided to bring home the gentle 
Rousseau's body. So it was that both painters' names happened to appear 
together in the art sections of the newspapers during this liberation period. 
La France an Combat, on January 11, 1945, headlined, "Vasily Kandinsky 
Has Died at the Age of 78 ... . The Gentle Rousseau Will Rest Near the 
Children." 

Paul Klee was another painter who had inhabited Kandinsky's universe 
throughout the eleven years he lived in Neuilly-sur-Seine. During the years 
Kandinsky and Klee spent together in Weimar and Dessau, they exchanged 
their works, and Kandinsky owned a number of gouaches and paintings by 
Klee. Were they hung on his living room walls, like the Rousseaus? Nobody 
knows. Kandinsky and Klee had last seen each other in 1933 (Kandinsky had 
written a touching farewell article in the Bauhaus newspaper 169 ) and had had 
few opportunities to meet again. In 1937, when Kandinsky went to Bern for 
his retrospective, he met Klee there. Klee was already very ill, and they never 
saw each other again. They rarely wrote one another, and left it to their 
wives to keep in touch. Klee's last message is particularly moving and testi- 
fies to their profound friendship. Because it was written during that prewar 
waiting period known as "la drdle de guerre," it was in French, as the French 
censors would not allow correspondence in any other language (cat. no. 213). 



55 



170. Nina Kandinsky, p. 229. 

171. Four works by Klee, Chateau des 
croyants, Sans titre, Paroles parcimo- 
nieuses de Vavare, Dix-sept egares, 
were reproduced in La Revolution 
Surrealiste, no. 3, Apr. 15, 1925, 

pp. 5, 13, 21, 27. 

1-2. Paris, Galerie Simon, Jan. 24-Feb. 5, 
1938; Galerie Balay-Carre, July 1938. 

173. Paris, Galerie Georges Bernheim, Paul 
Klee, Feb. 1-15, 1929. Catalogue with 
text "Merci Paul Klee" by Rene 
Crevel. 

174. Letter from Kojeve to Kandinsky 
dated Feb. 3, 1929. 

175. Loeb, Voyages, p. 135. 

1-6. See Anthony Blunt, "The 'Realism' 
Quarrel," Left Review, vol. Ill, Apr. 
1937, pp. 169-171. 

177. Letter from Read to Kandinsky 
dated Mar. 25, 1938. 

178. Louis Aragon, "Expositions: La Pein- 
ture au Tournant (1)" Commune, 2e 
annee, June 1935, pp. 1181-1182, 
1185-1189. 

179. Letter from Kandinsky to Taeuber- 
Arp dated May 9, 1942. In this letter 
Kandinsky wrote about the preface 
for 10 Origin, Zurich, 1942. 

180. Kandinsky's only mistake in this con- 
nection was to have placed too much 
trust in the art critic Jakovski. 
Although Jakovski wrote articles in 
1934 and 1935 in support of the ab- 
stract artists Kandinsky, Helion and 
Giacometti, he later stopped de- 
fending them and specialized in the 
promotion of naive art, which was 
much more lucrative at that time. 

181. In a letter to Grohmann dated Feb. 
11, 1935, Kandinsky eagerly inquired 
whether Grohmann had received 
Axis and Gaceta de arte. 

182. Letter from Kandinsky to Read dated 
Apr. 2, 193S. In a letter to Klee dated 
Jan. 9, 1938, Kandinsky wrote that 
Teriade wanted to publish two litho- 
graphs by Klee in Verve, one con- 
cerned with the moon and the other 
with the stars. Ultimately, Masson 
executed works on these themes for 
the magazine. Plastique was a slim 
review published by Domela, Arp and 
most importantly Taeuber-Arp and fi- 
nanced partly by Gallatin and the 
painter G.L.K. Morris. Five issues 
appeared between 1937 and 1939. 
Plastique was the first instrument of 
liaison between the abstract artists 

of Paris and the American Abstract 
Artists. Concerning Transition, see 
Dougald MacMillan, Transition: the 
History <>j a I iterary Era, /v2--iv \S, 
London, 1975. Kandinsky executed 



Bent, Kisteriveg 6 
December 30, 1939 

My dear friend and young comrade— I say young because sometimes I 
don't quite remember exactly— my important encounter with you does 
not only date from yesterday— and yet sometimes it seems to me as if it 
was only yesterday. We certainly haven't wasted our time, either of us. 
Your letter of December 12 gave me such pleasure; I could feel your 
heart beating— such a generous heart! Thank you! 

Kandinsky was profoundly shaken by his old friend's death in 1940. 
He learned of it while in Cauterets, a small spa in the Hautes Pyrenees region 
of southwestern France, where he had to stay for three months because of 
the exodus from Paris. 170 In Paris, at any rate, Kandinsky had to compete 
with Klee whether he liked it or not. Klee was the better known of the two 
when Kandinsky moved to Neuilly. 171 Kahnweiler was willing to handle 
Klee's work but refused to accept Kandinsky's. Two different galleries, 
Kahnweiler's Galerie Simon, as well as Balay-Carre, held shows in Klee's 
honor in 1938, and both were wildly successful. 172 Klee's name had been 
known, after all, since 1926, when the first exhibition of his work was held 
in Paris. In 1929, a second show, organized at Georges Bernheim, accompa- 
nied by a catalogue with a preface by Rene Crevel, had introduced the public 
to Klee's marvelous little works that were neither abstract nor Surrealist. 173 
When Kojeve saw the Klee show, he somewhat naively asked his uncle, "How 
do you situate yourself in relation to Klee?" 1 4 And Kandinsky must have 
been at a loss to answer him. Loeb, in his Voyages a travers la peinture, hardly 
mentioned Kandinsky and had nothing but good things to say about Klee. 

Among the painters and the poets who use this new language to some 
extent, we should note Kandinsky , who, along with Mondrian, created 
nonobjective art; Miro, who began by analyzing synthesis and carrying 
it to its utmost limits, and is now crawling through prehistoric caves and 
dodging entirely away to another planet; whereas Klee (who was omitted, 
for reasons I cannot understand, from Le Surrealisme et la peinture) 
brings us into a marvelous tvorld of enchantment with his astonishingly 
varied watercolors, as lightly woven and as amazingly sturdy as spider- 
webs. 11 '' 

Did Klee's death have a liberating effect on Kandinsky? Certainly, in the 
last few years of his life, Kandinsky, like Klee, gave himself over to unbridled 
fantasy and penetrated into the world of enchantment. He reexperienced 
the frantic appetite for work that Klee expressed in his last paintings and, like 
him, produced small formats only. 

Until the very end of his life, Kandinsky's festival of color and form 
contrasted with the flat, unleavened realism advocated by paradoxically— 
both the conformist aesthetics of the bourgeoisie and the leftist ideologies. 
What with academic reactionism on the right and "proletarian realism" on 
the left, little scope remained for an art that had risen above day-to-day 



56 



Invitation to second Kandinsky exhibition 
at Galerie des "Cahiers d'Art," Paris, 1935 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



W. KANDINSKY 

nouvei_i.es toil.es aquarelles, oessins 



'/*7/- - / J ' //Jl' 



(S .fVi'V</tM t?l'7<7llt.l'f A 

*^ettx>d. ctt?ru e&J eeefttffT ens' /a 



a 16' A-V. re.J 



the drawings for the cover of Tran- 
sition, no. 27, Apr. -May 193S (cat. 
no. 41), the issue in which some of his 
German poems appear (see note 91). 
In a letter to Grohmann dated Apr. n, 
1938, and a letter to Jolas dated Dec. 
26, 1937, Kandinsky mentioned this 
issue. 

183. Christian and Yvonne Zervos intro- 
duced the Kandinskys to Paris. Kan- 
dinsky mentioned them often in his 
letters to Grohmann, see particularly 
the letter dated Jan. 7, 1934. In 1937 
they fell out over the conception of 
the exhibition Origines et devel- 
oppement de I' art international in- 
dependant (see note 114) and because, 
in Kandinsky's view, Zervos there- 
after did not strongly support abstract 
art. Their quarrel was confirmed by 
Kandinsky's letter to Zervos dated 
June 1, 1937, and by Zervos's very 
negative review of Origines et devel- 
oppement in Cahiers d'Art, ne annee, 
no. 4-5, 1937, pp. 162-164, f° r exam- 
ple: "Influenced by Cezanne and 
Matisse, Kandinsky had (in 1911) 
decomposed the representation of 
objects and made them into mere pre- 
texts for the development of shapes 
and colors. Picabia had laid down 

(in 1909) the first bases of the art 
which is wrongly called abstract." 

184. Letter from Helion to Gallatin dated 
Mar. 26, 1934. 



triviality. 176 Herbert Read warned Kandinsky of the damage wrought by the 
bleak new trend. "There seems to be a reaction against any kind of 'abstract' 
art just now— the reactionaries never did like it, but even the revolutionaries 
turn against it in favour of a dreary 'socialist realism."' 177 

This was a period of dramatic changes. Aragon was the apostle of a 
reversion to the human element, as opposed to abstraction. In 1935, writing 
about an exhibition held at the Maison de la Culture in Paris, he stressed the 
abrupt transformation in Giacometti's work. The sculptor had left Surrealism 
behind and come back to the human figure. "The two heads that Giacometti 
calls Les deux opprimes are only an inadequate reflection of what he is seek- 
ing. He says now that all of his earlier work was an attempt to flee reality 
and speaks disdainfully of a sort of mysticism that had slipped into his work. 
His drawings have already revealed his hatred of the society in which he 
lives." 178 

Accordingly, the last writings that Kandinsky published have to be read 
in context, a polemical context. His "few magical and tranquil words" are 
meant to ward off the incessant attacks on even so much as the possibility 
of abstract art. 179 With the discerning judgement that governed all his life, 
Kandinsky wrote and illustrated only for the most independent magazines, 
those that were most receptive to the imminent potentialities of plastic art 
and whose typography was outstanding. 180 He identified himself with their 
struggle and strove actively to enhance their circulation. 181 Enthusiastically, 
he listed them for Herbert Read and was thrilled to think that such maga- 
zines could still exist. "Have you received the last issue of Verve} It's very 
handsome. XXe Steele was more modest but very precious too. We now have 
3 (three!) art reviews in Paris. No, I beg your pardon, four. I forgot Cahiers 
d'Art. Ah, pardon me, once again, five if we think of Plastique. And there is 
even a sixth one, not quite Parisian and not quite a review of the plastic arts, 
but a sort of 'American cousin,' so to speak, but born in Paris. It is called 
Transition, and it is very important." 182 

This letter, written in 1938, shows what vitality Kandinsky still had at 
seventy-two. Unable to find an important dealer who would free him from 
financial worries, Kandinsky militated through the small galleries that had 
not built up clienteles; there, he exhibited along with much younger artists 
and was willing to take his turn between two painters who were showing for 
the first time. In 1934 and 1935 he showed his recent works at the new Galerie 
des "Cahiers d'Art," run by Yvonne Zervos (fig. 31). 183 It was not a real 
gallery, and this letter from Helion to Gallatin shows that its vocation was un- 
certain. "March 26, 1934. [Zervos] has transformed his office rue du Dragon 
into a two-floors gallery very good-looking indeed. The first show opened 
last week is devoted to modern architecture. The following will be for the 
new Miros. Third one might be for the young abstract painting." (This 
was right after the Kandinsky show.) One year later Helion was disenchanted. 
"February 22., 1935. The cahier d'art have a mediocre show of young archi- 
tects and modern furniture. . . . Never a season so poor in shows. Cahier 
d'Art . . . appear but twice a year. Zervos is now selling furnitures in his 
gallery, which gives an infortunate [sic] mercenary feeling to the visitor." 184 



57 



fig. 32 

Guest book from group show at Galerie 

Jeanne Bucher, Paris, 1944 

Courtesy Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris 



f 



\*ULuM. U*4fM'tUA I5TUUUH. It^m 

J/iulou oil jfcei 












l^>-- 



V 



186 

187 



Kandinsky had contacted Jeanne 
Bucher in 1932, but the Depression 
had forced her to close her gallery for 
a time. She organized three one-man 
exhibitions of Kandinsky's work: 
Kandinsky (recent paintings, and 
watercolors and graphics from 1910- 
35), Dec. 3-19, 1936; Kandinsky 
(watercolors and gouaches from 
1910-20 and 1937-39), June 2-17, 
1939; Wassily Kandinsky (recent 
paintings and watercolors), July 21- 
Aug. 4, 1942. See review of the latter 
exhibition by G. di San Lazzaro, "Au 
point du jour— le tableau retourne," 
L'ltalie Noni'elle, no. 255, July 25, 
1942, p. 1. Jeanne Bucher introduced 
Kandinsky to Noelle Lecoutoure and 
Marcel Panier, who organized the last 
Kandinsky exhibition held during his 
lifetime: Paris, Galerie l'Esquisse, 
Etapes de loeuvre de Wassily Kan- 
dinsky, Nov. 7-Dec. 7, 1944. 

Letter from Kandinsky to Klee dated 
Dec. 16, 1934. 

His visitors also included former 
Bauhaus pupils, such as Florence 
Henri, who had turned to photog- 
raphy and design in Paris. 

For example, letter from Kandinsky 
to Mortensen dated Feb. 12, 1939. 
Letter preserved in the Kandinsk) 
Archive, MNAM. 



Was that why in 1938 Kandinsky began showing in the gallery that 
Jeanne Bucher had just opened on the boulevard Montparnasse? 185 It was a 
modest but authentic gallery, which issued publications and had genuine 
influence over developments in the Paris art world. Kandinsky exhibited 
alongside Domela and Nicolas de Stael (fig. 32). He had three one-man 
shows, including one in 1942, during the German Occupation, when abstract 
art was completely dissident (fig. 33). It was Jeanne Bucher who introduced 
Kandinsky to Dezarrois in 1936, and it was she who kept him supplied with 
tobacco during the years it was rationed or unavailable. Kandinsky and 
Jeanne Bucher held each other in mutual esteem, which, although neither of 
them indulged in sentimental effusiveness, matured into sincere friendship 
in the final years, when both of them suffered from isolation. 

For Kandinsky, although careful in his choice of visitors, liked to be in 
contact with young artists, and his correspondence with the Alberses al- 
lowed him to keep up to date on what was going on at Black Mountain 
("Only the Alberses write happy letters."); 1811 that with Hannes Beckmann 
on events in Prague; with Grohmann and Thiemann, on developments in 
Germany. Among his visitors were Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, 
Helion, Ejler Bille, Pevsner, Hartung, Fernandez and Domela. 187 He gave 
lavish advice by correspondence to Richard Mortensen and others. 188 Har- 
tung later recalled his visit to Kandinsky's before the war. Kandinsky was part 
of the Paris art world and had a definite influence over it. Helion, for instance, 
outlined to Gallatin which studios he should include in his schedule of visits 
in 193S. "June 10, 193S . . . Hartung's drawings and small pictures and Mag- 
nelli's collages .... we have been much impressed by the three last construc- 
tions by Pevsner, the new Mondrians, and the recent Kandinsky's. The latter 
is certainly in one of his best periods and has done very remarkable gouaches 
that would really make a visit to his Neuilly studio worthwhile." 



58 



GALERIE JEANNE BUCHER 

9 - BOULEVARD DU MONTPARNASSE 

EXPOSITION 

WASSILY KANDINSKY 

PEINTURES ET GOUACHES RECENTES 

DU 21 JUILLET AU 4 AOUT 

Di 10 A 12 ET DE 14 A 18 H (Sjut l« DwnanehM) 



fig- 33 

Invitation to final Kandinsky 

exhibition at Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, 

1941 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



189. Letter from Kandinsky to Grohmann 
dated Dec. z, 1935. 

190. Joan Miro, Ceci est la couleur de mes 
reves. Entretiens avec Georges IL11I- 
lard, Paris, 1977, p. 68. 

191. Peintures, gouaches et dessins de 
Joan Miro, Oct. 19-Nov. 15, 1943. 

192. For example, letter in support of Arp 
from Kandinsky to Andre de Ridder 
dated Nov. 1, 1933; letter from Kan- 
dinsky to Grohmann dated Mar. 15, 
1934; letter from Kandinsky to Klee 
dated Oct. 11, 1939. 

193. Jean Arp, "Kandinsky le poete," in 
Max Bill, ed., Wassily Kandinsky, 
Paris, 1951, p. S9. 

194. Alberto Magnelli, "Une foi pro- 
fonde," XXe Siecle, no. XXVII, Dec. 
1966, pp. 91-92. 

195. Barr presented the reverse of this 
view, attributing the formal changes 
in Kandinsky's work to the influence 
of Miro and Arp, without, however, 
attempting to support his assertions, 
in Cubism and Abstract Art, p. 68: 
"Subsequently his work became 
more drily geometrical but in the last 
few years he has turned to more 
organic forms, perhaps under the in- 
fluence of the younger Parisians Miro 
and Arp, to whom he pointed the 
way twenty years before." Kandinsky 
was very upset by the scornful treat- 
ment he was given throughout this 
catalogue, and wrote a long letter of 
protest to Barr dated July 16, 1936. 



Kandinsky in turn visited the younger artists in their studios and was 
receptive to their search for expression. The days of great friendships were 
over; he was too old to find a new Franz Marc or a new Paul Klee. But he 
was close to Miro, "the little man who always paints large canvases, is a real 
little volcano who really projects his paintings." 189 Their correspondence is 
insignificant— chiefly concerned with hotel reservations for a vacation— but 
later Miro did recall having exchanged a painting with Kandinsky. 190 Kan- 
dinsky paid him an even greater tribute at the end of 1943— public transport 
was virtually nonexistent at the time— when he went to the trouble of going 
all the way to the Galerie Jeanne Bucher to see the Miro exhibition there. 
On December 1, 1943, Kandinsky wrote to Bruguiere, who had asked what 
was happening in Paris: "All I've seen is the Miro show at Jeanne Bucher, 
where there were some fine pictures in Miro's style." 191 

Hans Arp and his wife Sophie Taeuber-Arp are often mentioned in Kan- 
dinsky's correspondence. 192 The last text Kandinsky wrote was in Taeuber- 
Arp's memory. Arp held Kandinsky in similar esteem. In describing his first 
visit to Kandinsky, in 1912, Arp was probably actually recalling the tone of 
their conversation decades later in Neuilly-sur-Seine. "What Kandinsky had 
to say was tender, rich, vivacious and humorous. Inside his studio, words, 
form and color merged together and were transformed into fabulous un- 
heard of worlds such as no one has ever seen. And by listening carefully I 
could hear, behind the roar and tumult of those worlds, the tintinnabulation 
of those brilliant, gaudy, onion-domed Russian cities." 193 

Magnelli was the last artist to call on Kandinsky, who exchanged a lovely 
canvas from 1929, Loose Connection, for a schoolboy's slate Magnelli had 
painted in 1937 (cat. no. 135). 194 Although illness had made Kandinsky very 
weak, he showered encouragement and optimism on the younger painter. 
For Magnelli was just back from the country, where he had been forced to 
hide, and was disheartened by so many years without painting and by the 
difficulties of producing abstract work in a Paris that was still occupied. 
When Kandinsky died on December 13, 1944, On the Spiritual in Art had 
not yet been translated into French. But he left behind Arp, Miro and Mag- 
nelli as a trio of spiritual heirs. 19 ' 



Epilogue 

Moving from one quotation to another, we have covered the eleven years 
that Kandinsky lived in Paris, from 1933 to 1944, the last eleven years of his 
life. Through these excerpts, these verbal snapshots, we have brought a num- 
ber of unaccustomed authorities into the Kandinskian pantheon. We have 
seen various movements go by, groups fall apart and regroupings take place, 
while individuals remain. Our purpose, in this brief introduction to a period 
that remains enigmatic in Kandinsky's career, has been to remove certain 
labels and sometimes replace them by others, to avoid paraphrases when the 
original text is richer and more colorful than any anachronistic monologue 



59 



i9<>. W. Kanclinsky, "Franz Marc," 
Cahiers d'Art, i ie annee, no. 8-io, 
1936, p. 274. 



60 



we might invent, and to subject to the corrosive effects of this reconstituted 
dialogue the outmoded stereotypes upon which the history of art sometimes 
relies. 

In 1913 Munich and the Berlin of Der Sturm were not ready to wel- 
come the newness of brilliantly colored but subjectless painting, and they 
hurled abuse at "the Russian" who wanted to inflict it on them. Similarly, in 
the 1930s, Paris did not understand how this "former brute" could give him- 
self over to decadent "softness," and the critics smiled mockingly at his 
"effeminate" works— seeming to consider Kandinsky a new Hercules obliged 
by Omphale to sit at her feet and spin, or a new Samson weakened by Delilah. 

Kandinsky immediately understood the distance between his adoptive 
city and his new manner of painting. In an article he wrote in memory of his 
friend Franz Marc, for Cahiers d'Art, we find these disillusioned lines: "The 
times were difficult but heroic. We went ahead with our painting. The public 
spat on it. Today we go ahead with our painting and the public says, 'That's 
pretty.' This is a change but it does not mean that the times have become any 
easier for artists." 196 

Translated by Eleanor Levieux 



KANDINSKYAND SCIENCE: 

THE INTRODUCTION OF BIOLOGICAL 

IMAGES IN THE PARIS PERIOD 

Vivian Endicott Barnett 



I am grateful to Christian Derouet for 
generously permitting me to study Kan- 
dinsky's drawings, papers and books at 
the Musee National d'Art Moderne, Cen- 
tre Georges Pompidou, in Paris, and to 
Jessica Boissel for assisting with my re- 
search there. I have relied upon several 
people for their scientific knowledge and 
I would like to thank them for their es- 
sential help: Dr. Michael Bedford, Harold 
and Percy Uris Professor of Reproductive 
Biology, Cornell University Medical Col- 
lege; Dr. Arthur Karlin, Professor of Bio- 
chemistry and Neurology, College of 
Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia Uni- 
versity; Dr. Niles Eldredge, Chairman of 
Department of Invertebrates, American 
Museum of Natural History; Dr. Peter H. 
Barnett, Associate Professor of Philosophy, 
John Jay College, The City University of 
New York; and Eric Wahl. The Annex of 
The New York Public Library and the Bib- 
liotheque Centrale of the Museum Na- 
tional d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris have 
provided essential sources of information. 

i. Christian Zervos, "Notes sur Kan- 
dinsky," Cahiers d'Art, ye annee, 
no. 5-8, 1934, p. 154. Author's trans- 
lation. 

z. Many years earlier, in 1906-07, Kan- 
dinsky had lived in Sevres outside Paris 
with Gabriele Munter. 



After Kandinsky settled in Paris and began to paint again in 1934, his work 
manifested stylistic and iconographic changes. The artist was then sixty- 
seven years old; he stayed in France for almost eleven years, until his death 
there in 1944. During this last decade Kandinsky completed one hundred and 
forty-four oil paintings and more than two hundred and fifty watercolors 
and gouaches in addition to producing several hundred drawings. This sub- 
stantial body of late work possesses a unity that sets it apart from what he 
had done between 1897 and 1933, although it can be related to his earlier 
work. The question of what is new and what is already familiar in Kan- 
dinsky's Paris pictures is complex and difficult to analyze. However, this is 
one of the essential questions posed by his late work. The visual evidence 
of Kandinsky's paintings and works on paper undeniably reveals that new 
motifs are introduced into his art in 1934. Moreover, it is generally agreed 
that during the Paris period Kandinsky's colors changed: he selected new 
hues, favored pastels rather than primaries and achieved original and intri- 
cate color harmonies. In the summer of 1934, at the time of Kandinsky's first 
exhibition at the Galerie des "Cahiers d'Art" in Paris, Christian Zervos 
wrote: "The influence of nature on his work has never been so perceptible as 
in the canvases painted in Paris. The atmosphere, light, airiness and sky of 
the Ile-de-France completely transforms the expressiveness of his work." 1 

Other significant changes took place when Kandinsky resumed work in 
Paris early in 1934. He returned to painting large canvases, he began to add 
sand to discrete areas of his paintings and he incorporated biomorphic— even 
biological— forms into his art. However, these features had been tentatively 
introduced before or— in the case of the large size of his pictures— had once 
been prevalent in Kandinsky's work. Thus, it becomes exceedingly difficult 
to differentiate between innovation and the culmination of earlier tendencies. 

Certain biographical facts about the artist clarify and qualify the changes 
that attended Kandinsky's relocation to Paris. This was the second time he 
was forced to leave Germany because of political events. Moreover, Kan- 
dinsky and his wife, Nina, had left their native Russia in December 1921 and 
during the intervening years had lived in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin. Al- 
though he did not move to France until the very end of 1933, the transition 
from the Bauhaus in Germany to Paris took place gradually from 1928 to 
1934. 2 He took annual trips there during this time, and his work was exhib- 
ited at the Galerie Zak in January 1929, at the Galerie de France in March 
1930, in the Cercle et Carre group show at the Galerie 23 in the spring of 1930 



61 




fig. I 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Start. 1934 

Private Collection, Basel 



3. Information from correspondence 
with Will Grohmann— especially 
Kandinsky's letters dated Oct. 8, 31 
and Dec. 10, 1933— and Kandinsky's 
letter to Josef Albers dated Jan. 9, 
1934. The letters to Grohmann cited 
in the text belong to the Archiv XX'ill 
Grohmann, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, and 
those to Albers belong to the Josef 
Albers Papers preserved in the Manu- 
script and Archive Department of the 
Sterling Memorial Library, Yale 
University, New Haven. 

4. Information from Kandinsky's letters 
to Galka Scheyer dated Dec. 10, 1933, 
and Jan. 5, 1934, and his letter to Will 
Grohmann dated Jan. 7, 1934. The 
letters to Scheyer cited in the text 

are preserved in the Blue Four Galka 
Scheyer Collection of the Norton 
Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena. 

5. For example, Lines of Marks (Zeichen- 
reiben) of July 1931 (Collection 
Kunstmuseum Basel; HL watercolors 
442-)- 




fig. 2 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Two Surroundings. 1934 
Collection Stedelijk Museum, 
Amsterdam 



and at the Surrealist exhibition of the Association Artistique Les Surinde- 
pendants in late October and November of 1933. Following the closing of 
the Bauhaus in Berlin in July 1933, Vasily and Nina Kandinsky vacationed 
at Les Sablettes near Toulon in France in late August and September and 
spent most of October in Paris. At the end of the month they returned to 
Berlin and remained there until December 16, 1933. 3 After spending five days 
in Switzerland they arrived in Paris on December 21, 1933, and were installed 
in a new apartment in Neuilly-sur-Seine by the beginning of 1934. 4 Not sur- 
prisingly there is a hiatus in Kandinsky's work between August 1933, when 
he painted Development in Brown in Berlin, and February 1934, when he 
resumed work in Paris and titled his first picture Start (fig. 1). 

When Kandinsky began to paint again in 1934, he introduced certain 
specific and original motifs into his work. By analyzing the images in his 
pictures, it is possible to determine when new motifs entered his pictorial 
vocabulary and which forms persist from previous periods. For example, 
Graceful Ascent of March 1934 (cat. no. 21) retains the geometric and curvi- 
linear imagery as well as the strict hierarchical grid-like structure of his 
Bauhaus work. However, the pastel hues and delicate nuances of value signal 
the lightness and sweetness of color he created during the Paris period. Like- 
wise, imagery from earlier periods appears in Two Surroundings of Novem- 
ber 1934 (fig. 2), which displays the whiplash line and the suggestion of 
rowers in a boat first seen in Kandinsky's painting before World War I, when 
he lived in Munich, as well as the overlapping circles and rows of calligraphic 
marks familiar from his work done when he was at the Bauhaus in Dessau. 3 
However, the addition of fine-grained sand to specific zones of the canvas 
that occurs here is unique to Kandinsky's work of 1934-35, although in pre- 
vious years he had occasionally experimented with sprinkling sand on his 
paintings. Similarly, the distinctive black and white curved form at the right 
enters Kandinsky's pictorial vocabulary in 1934. 

The new motifs the artist introduced in 1934 must be singled out and 
identified. These forms derive from the world of biology— especially zoology 



62 



and embryology— and from the work of other artists with which Kandinsky 
was familiar. In 1934 there is a remarkable incidence in his painting of 
images of amoebas, embryos, larvae and marine invertebrates, as well as 
leaf forms and punctuation marks. By focusing on the period from 1934 
through 1937, the new imagery of Kandinsky's late work will be defined 
and interpreted. Once established, his new iconography is continued and 
elaborated upon throughout his Paris work. Not only paintings but also 
watercolors and drawings will be analyzed in basically chronological order. 6 
This essay will emphasize innovation rather than the sense of continuity that 
permeates Kandinsky's art. 7 Works that incorporate new imagery will be 
discussed and, whenever possible, the new motifs will be related to specific 
sources. 







% 3 

Shapes of an amoeba from Henry A. 
Barrows, General Biology, 1935, p. 98, 
after Verworn 




fig- 4 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Each for Himself. 1934 

Private Collection 



6. Kandinsky kept a Hauskatalog or 
Handlist in which he recorded his 
paintings and specified their titles, 
exact dates, media, dimensions and 
exhibition histories. Each entry was 
numbered and accompanied by a 
small sketch. In addition, after 1922, 
Kandinsky maintained a separate 
Handlist for watercolors and gouaches. 

7. The author emphasizes continuity and 
the unity- of Kandinsky's pictorial 
modes in her book Kandinsky at the 
Guggenheim, New York, 1983. 

8. Hugo Moser, Deutsche Sprach- 
geschichte, Stuttgart, 1955, p. 177. 



Although the title Start, which Kandinsky gave the first painting he did in 
Paris, would appear to be an English word, "start" was an international term 
commonly used in sports. 8 "Start" vividly conveys the fast beginning asso- 
ciated with a race or takeoff. With reference to Kandinsky's resumption of 
painting after a lengthy hiatus, it seems somewhat ironic but clearly expresses 
an optimistic beginning. Executed in tempera over plaster on a small board, 
this picture presents dark blue, green and purple elements against a light 
blue background. The artist contrasts circular, square and rectangular forms 
with four distinctly amoeboid shapes whose amorphousness is immediately- 
remarkable and innovative. In fact, Kandinsky introduced images of amoebas 
(fig. 3)— a simple unicellular form of life— into his paintings in 1934. It is 
especially significant that this most elemental stage of life is depicted in a 
work of art titled Start. The concurrence of image and meaning cannot be 
accidental. 

He elaborates upon the simple amoeboid form in the canvas Each for 
Himself of April 1934 (fig. 4; cat. no. 12). The central white figure and, to an 
even greater degree, the watercolor study for it (cat. no. 23), resemble an 



63 





fig. 6 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Drawing for Each for Himself. 1934 

Formerly Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris 



fig- 5 

Victor Brauner 

Petite morphologie. 1934 

Menil Foundation 




fig- 7 

Progressive stages in the development of 
vertebrate embryos from Barrows, 1935, 
p. 499, after Darwin 




fig- 8 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Black Forms on White. 1934 

Collection Association-Fondation 

Christian et Yvonne Zervos, Veztlay 



64 



fig- 9 
Hans Arp 

Drawing from "L'Air est une Racine" in 
Le Surrealisme au Service de la Revolution, 
1933. P- 33 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art 
Library, New York 




9. Margit Rowell, Julio Gonzalez, exh. 
cat., New York, 1983, cat. nos. 141, 
142, 144-149 and Josephine Withers, 
Julio Gonzalez: Sculpture in Iron, 
New York, I9"S, pi. 66. 

10. Minotaure, no. 1, Feb. 1933, 
PP- 33-37- 

1 1. See the view of Mondrian's atelier in 
Cahiers d'Art, 6e annee, no. 1, 1931, 
p. 43. Also Composition B with Red 
and Composition with Red and Black 
of 1936 in Michel Seuphor, Viet Mon- 
drian: Life and Work, New York, 
1956, cc 376, 377. 

12. Dominique Bozo, Victor Brauner, exh. 
cat., Pans, 1971, n.p. 

13. 1 am indebted to Dr. Michael Bedford 
for these observations made in con- 
versation with the author, July 2, 1984. 



amoeba in overall shape (including pseudopods) and in internal details such 
as vacuoles. Likewise, the figure in the upper right corner possesses decidedly 
cellular characteristics and vaguely embryonic qualities (fig. 7). Each figure 
is enclosed in a womb-like shape; in particular, the one at the lower right 
corner looks like a uterus. Although two of the nine images are amoeboid, 
others bear striking similarities to drawings by Pablo Picasso and Julio 
Gonzalez. For example, the sculptural form in the middle of the top row 
resembles Gonzalez's coeval drawings and sculptures, Woman Combing Her 
Hair, Woman with a Mirror and Maternity. 9 The figure with female attri- 
butes on the right in the middle row brings to mind Picasso's drawings from 
Une Anatomie, which were published in Minotaure in February 1933. 10 

Not only are the figures in Each for Himself innovative but also the 
format of the picture is completely new in Kandinsky's work. By organizing 
three registers of three figures each in compartmentalized zones, Kandinsky 
presents the mathematical format that recurs in Thirty of 1937, fifteen of 
193S (cat. nos. 68, 67), and 4 x j = 10 of 1943 (HL 725). The simplicity 
and rigid geometry of the pictorial organization suggests Piet Mondrian's 
canvases. 11 However, the closest parallel can be found in a coeval painting by 
Victor Brauner, Petite morphologic (fig. 5), where nine figures are arranged 
in three rows. Moreover, the Surrealist overtones of several of Kandinsky's 
motifs indicate Brauner as a possible source of inspiration. Brauner had lived 
in Paris since 1930; his work was shown together with that of Kandinsky in 
the autumn of 1933 in the Surrealist exhibition organized by the Association 
Artistiqtte Les Surindependants. 12 

Before he painted Each for Himself, Kandinsky executed an ink drawing 
(fig. 6) in which the nine figures are depicted in a different sequence. In the 
final version two shapes have been reversed and each of the nine figures has 
been suspended within its womb-like space. In the painting horizontal and 
vertical bars separate the zones, and arrows, curving worm-like forms and 
small geometric details have been added to articulate the nine compartments. 
Kandinsky's painting figure in Red of December 1930 (HL 535) foreshadows 
the Surrealist figures in Each for Himself. However, both the format and the 
elaboration of these forms in Each for Himself appear for the first time in the 
1934 painting. 

In Black Forms on White (fig. 8; cat. no. 45), which was also painted in 
April, the black amoeboid shapes shown on a white ground in the center sug- 
gest a macrophage. In addition, various forms of primitive life are indicated 
by the white shapes on black ground in the peripheral zones. Contemporary 
illustrations of both amoeboid and embryonic forms (figs. 3, 7) prove the 
relevance of biological knowledge to Kandinsky's painting. Black Forms on 
White also contains forms suggestive of elements in blood: two white circles 
with centers at the left edge can be identified as red cells, the two small 
amoeboid shapes at the top can be associated with white cells, and the small 
curved elements at the upper left and lower right corners look like platelets. 13 

The difficulty and the complexity of problems encountered in interpreting 
Kandinsky's pictures become apparent when Black Forms on White is com- 
pared with a drawing by Hans Arp (fig. 9) that was published in Ee Sur- 



65 




> 





fig. II 

Human embryo from Abstamnuingslehre: 
Systematik, Paliiontologie unci Biogeo- 
graphie, 1914, p. 61 

fig. 12 

Human embryo from Zellen-und 
Gewebelebre: Morphologie unci Entwick- 
lungsgeschichte. II. Zoologischer Teil, 
iS>i3,p. 388 



fig. 10 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Between Two. 1934 
Private Collection 



15 



16 



14. "L'Air est une Racine," Le Surrealisme 

an Service cie la Revolution, no. 6, 
May 15, 1933, p. 33. 
"Centenaire de Kandinsky," XXe 
Steele, no. 27, Dec. 1966, p. 81, 
color repr. 

Observations made in conversation 
with the author by Dr. Arthur Karlin, 
May 4, 1984, and by Dr. Michael 
Bedford, July 2., 1984. 

17. See Kenneth C. Lindsay and Peter 
Vergo, eds., Kandinsky: Complete 
Writings on Art, Boston, 1982, vol. II, 
p. 630. 

18. I would like to thank Dr. Niles 
Eldrcdge for bringing this to my at- 
tention in conversation, June 4, 1984. 



realisme an Service de la Revolution in 1933. 14 The curving forms, the large 
figure with eyes at the right and the overall configuration are amazingly 
similar in Arp's drawing and this painting of 1934. Did Kandinsky and Arp 
share common interests in specific biological forms and in natural growth? 
How was Kandinsky influenced by Surrealism? To what extent did he seek 
inspiration from science in general and zoology and embryology in par- 
ticular? 

In May 1934 Kandinsky completed the large painting Between Two 
(fig. 10). Here two curving forms face each other; they are defined as sand- 
covered areas on the canvas and are set off from the red background. 15 The 
figure on the left bears an overwhelming resemblance to an embryo. The 
large eye and lateral articulation as well as the definition of specific areas 
leave no doubt as to the identity of the image and certainly demand expla- 
nation. Moreover, the curved form on the right also seems embryonic, its 
curved internal rod resembles a notochord and the adjacent black area can 
be interpreted as a yolk sac. 16 

In the artist's library, which is preserved in the Kandinsky Archive at the 
Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, is the 
encyclopedia Die Kttltur der Gegenwart, to which Kandinsky referred in 
his illustrations from the mid- 19 10s for the book Point and Line to Plane 
(Pttnkt ttnd Linie ztt Fliicbe). The many volumes of this encyclopedia were 
published in Leipzig and Berlin during the teens. Diagrams of human em- 
bryos from two of the volumes in this series provide specific images known to 
the artist (figs, n, 12). In addition, the circles on the red background that sur- 



66 



O "go *& 



AX? 



°0 



O 

, o 







o 



Sri © _^>oi_j, 

Q q4§ Jr © ° 8 '' 

£ £ O | g ^ €f 

fig- 13 

Blood cells from Zoologiscber Teil, 1913, 
P-74 



round the embryonic form in Between Two resemble the blood cells illus- 
trated in the encyclopedia volume that covers zoology on the page opposite 
a diagram Kandinsky copied for Point and Line to Plane (fig. i3)- 17 Even his 
title, Entre deux, alludes to the fact that a new life begins from the union 
between two people. 

The next painting listed after Between Two in Kandinsky's Handlist of 
oil paintings is Blue World (fig. 14; cat. no. 25) which also dates from May 
1934. Although the imagery of Blue World is more fanciful and imaginative 
than that of the preceding work, various embryological and larval forms can 
be identified. The most obvious embryo is situated to the right of center on an 
ochre sand-covered rectangle. In addition, the figure at the upper left re- 
sembles a fish embryo (fig. 15) and the curved large-bellied shape on the 
salmon-colored rectangular zone at the lower right suggests a salamander 
embryo (fig. 16). Adjacent to the latter in Kandinsky's painting are multi- 
colored, segmented creatures that seem to be insects. 18 Moreover, the large 
blue worm-form in the middle of Blue World looks like a nematode (fig. 17). 





sl'-'Wi"/*" r 

IS 




fig- 15 

Fish embryo from Zoologiscber Teil, 

I9i3> P- 358 



fig- M 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Blue World. 1934 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 



fig- 16 

Salamander embryo from Zoologiscber 
Teil, 1913, p. 346 




^fsp 

fig- 17 

Nematode from Zoologiscber Teil, 

1913, p. 232 



67 





_} 









t> 




fig.18 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Relations. 1934 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd 

Kreeger 

fig. 19 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Dominant Violet. 1934 

Collection Mark Goodson, New York 



19. Zellen-und Gewebelehre: Morphologic 
und Entwicklungsgeschichte. 

11. Zoologiscber Teil, Berlin and 
Leipzig, 1913, pp. 258, 269. 

20. Cahiers d' Art, ye annee, no. 1-4, 1934, 
opposite p. 1 1 . See also Kandinsky's 
letter to Albers dated June 19, 1934. 

11. Information supplied by Christian 
Derouet; their earliest correspondence 
dates from Dec. 1927. 

22. There was no mention in L'lntran- 
sigeant although Miro's exhibition at 
the same gallery was reviewed in the 
May 17 issue. It is possible to deter- 
mine which paintings were exhibited 
from the Handlist, which corresponds 
for the most part with the pictures 
reproduced in ( ahiers J An, no. 5-8, 
1934, PP- 149-15-- 



The volume of Kandinsky's encyclopedia devoted to zoology contains all of 
the scientific diagrams cited in the discussion of Blue World as well as related 
illustrations of insect embryos. 19 All subsequent figures of scientific material 
reproduced from Die Kultitr der Gegenwart appeared in volumes of the 
encyclopedia that belonged to the artist. 

All of Kandinsky's canvases discussed above were exhibited at the 
Zervos's Galerie des "Cahiers d'Art" at 14, rue du Dragon in Paris from 
May 23 to June 9, 1934. They were included in a small one-man show that 
took place after Joan Miro's exhibition there and before Max Ernst's. :o Kan- 
dinsky and Christian Zervos first met in i927; :i Zervos published Will 
Grohmann's monograph on Kandinsky in 193 1 and the following year the 
artist contributed an article to Zervos's publication, Cahiers d'Art. The first 
exhibition of Kandinsky's Paris pictures appears to have gone unnoticed by 
the French press, except for Zervos's article in Cahiers d'Art. 22 

After this exhibition, during the summer of 1934, Kandinsky executed 
Relations and Dominant Violet (figs. iS, 19; cat. nos. 28, 27). In both he has 
accentuated precise, pictorial elements by applying fine-textured sand to the 
canvas and painting over it. The imagery in these pictures derives from the 
world of nature and relies upon curving lines and whiplash lines. In Relations 
the forms resemble snakes, spermatozoa, worms and parasites (for example, 
in the lower left corner) as well as birds. Dominant Violet prominently dis- 
plays a large curving red shape on the right that looks like a nematode (fig. 17). 
However, the picture's connotations are predominantly those of the deep sea; 
the large, billowing forms look like medusas, jellyfish and related marine 
invertebrates. Moreover, the shape at the lower right corner distinctly looks 
like cross-sections of medusas. 

Kandinsky's predilection for abstractions that originate in natural forms 
and his fanciful and imaginative stylization of natural forms bring to mind 
the well-known volumes by Ernst Hemrich Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, 



68 





WJ?tf 



*m 






**■ 



*xr 



eg. 20 

Medusas from Ernst Haeckel, Kunst- 
formen der Natur, 1904, pi. 8 



fig. 21 

Deep-sea fish from Die Koralle, 1931, 
P-495 



fig." 

Plankton from Die Koralle, 1931, p. 496 



13. Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der 
Natur, Leipzig, 1904, pis. 4, 8, 18, 30, 
47. 84, 94- 

14. PI. 31 was reproduced in Cahiers d 'Art, 
9e annee, no. 1-4, 1934, p. 100. 

i$- G. von Borkow, "Leben unter Hoch- 
druck: Die entschleierte Welt der 
Tiefsee," Die Koralle, Jg. 6, Heft 11, 
Feb. 1931, pp. 495-499. Kandinsky 
also cut out from the same issue the 
article "Die Zunge ist ja so interes- 
sant!" by L. Schwarzfuss with photo- 
graphs of cats' tongues seen under 
magnification. 



which were published in 1904. Although Haeckel's beautifully colored illus- 
trations belong to an Art Nouveau aesthetic, many reproductions can be 
linked with Kandinsky's work: 23 for example, one of the many renditions of 
medusas (fig. zo) can be related to Dominant Violet. Another plate from 
Kunstformen der Natur that depicts microscopic marine-life (radiolaria) was 
reproduced in Cahiers d 'Art early in 1934 and undoubtedly was known to 
Kandinsky. 24 The images in Dominant Violet and other paintings from 1934 
to 1935 attest to Kandinsky's awareness of deep-sea life. Proof of his interest 
can be found in the papers he saved. Among many clippings Kandinsky took 
from magazines and newspapers is part of an article from Die Koralle by 
G. von Borkow called "Life Under Pressure: The Unveiled Life." 25 Two 
illustrations from this article are particularly relevant to Dominant Violet: 
the firola or deep-sea snail resembles the undulating pink form at the upper 
right and the deep-sea fish (fig. 21) corresponds to many curvilinear ele- 
ments. Kandinsky's preoccupation with curved lines and his detailed analysis 
of them in Foint and Line to Plane clearly indicate that he would have been 
fascinated by the bright and undulating lines of the deep-sea fish. 

A greatly enlarged photograph of plankton (fig. 22) from von Borkow's 
article on deep-sea life has relevance to Division-Unity (cat. no. 47), among 
other pictures. Plankton, brine shrimp, snails and larval stages of marine life 
become small, curving motifs that are evocatively and amusingly rendered in 
Kandinsky's work. Traces of these natural forms can be perceived in Compo- 
sition IX, Multiple Forms, both of 1936, Sky Blue of 1940 (cat. nos. 7, 60, 
116) and Sweet Trifles of 1937 (fig. 42). 



69 





fig-*3 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Fragile-Fixed. 1934 
Formerly Galerie Maeght, Paris 

fig- M 

Leaf from Karl Blossfeldc, Urformcn der 

Kunst, 1929, pi. 37 



z6. "L'Atelier de sculpture," Minotaure, 
no. 1, 1933, p. 10 and Christian Zervos, 
I'.iblo Picasso, Paris, 1955, vol. VII, 
nos. 316, 347, 377. 

17. See Will Grohmann, Kandinsky: I.ije 
and Work, New York, 1958, p. 11S. 

18. Documents, no. 3, June 1919, pp. 165, 
167, 168. 



In the painting Fragile-Fixed of September 1934 (fig. 23), a specific leaf- 
shape enters Kandinsky's vocabulary. It recurs in modified form in Balancing 
Act of February 1935 (HL 612) and again in Brown with Supplement of 
March of the same year (cat. no. 53). Here the bright green leaves recall the 
prominent and remarkably similar leaves in Picasso's work: the 1929 sculp- 
ture that was reproduced in Minotaure in 1933; the 1931 still life illustrated 
the same year in Cahiers d'Art; and The Lamp of June 193 1, which was ex- 
hibited at the Galeries Georges Petit in Paris in 1932. 26 Although Matisse's 
leaves have been singled out as the point of reference, they postdate the 
appearance of leaf-forms in Kandinsky's work. 27 The large scale and stylized 
outline of Kandinsky's leaves point to still another source known to him: 
namely Karl Blossfeldt's Urformen der Kunst which was published in Berlin 
in 1929. Two copies of the book exist in the artist's library at the Musee 
National d'Art Moderne. Blossfeldt's photographs consist primarily of flow- 
ers and leaves magnified to such a degree that they become abstractions (fig. 
24). In June 1929 three such photographs were reproduced in Documents. 29 
Blossfeldt's significance as a photographer, like Haeckel's as an illustrator, 
lay in his discovery of art in nature. 

The last painting Kandinsky did in 1934 exemplifies the richness of his 
imagery and the invention of his pictorial forms. Striped (cat. no. 29) unites 
alternating black and white vertical bands, whiplash lines and biological 
forms with similar configurations (snakes, worms and nematodes), and it 
juxtaposes birds at the upper left with an exclamation point at the upper 
right. In the central segment, a red circle at the top contrasts with a star- 
shaped biomorphic form below. In a preparatory drawing (fig. 25), the dis- 
tinctive structure of this multitentacled form emphasizes the central nucleus 
and accentuates the many entwining legs— characteristics of an echinoid, a 



70 




fig- 15 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Drawing for Striped 
Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 




fig. 2.6 

Sea polyps from Allgemeine Biologic, 
I9I5.P-4" 



29. Steven A. Nash, Albright-Knox Art 
Gallery: Tainting and Sculpture from 
Antiquity to 1942, New York, 1979, 
pp. 415-417. 

30. See Stanley William Hayter, "The 
Language of Kandinsky," Magazine of 
Art, vol. 38, May 1945, pp. 178-179, 
for a comparison of The Carnival of 
Harlequin and Accompanied Center. 







* 




t-oCj ' * a.; "J* "" 
» . a j 

' 4 ? ' 




fig- 2-7 
Joan Miro 

Carnival of Harlequin. 192.4-25 
Collection Alhright-Knox Art Gallery, 
Buffalo, New York, Room of 
Contemporary Art Fund, 1940 



species related to the common five-legged starfish. The depiction of a stage 
in the growth of sea polyps in the biology volume of Kandinsky's encyclo- 
pedia (fig. 26) recalls the star shape in Striped. In the canvas the distinc- 
tions between nucleus and tentacles are preserved and the colorful dots in the 
center correspond to those in the diagram. 

The affinities between Kandinsky's imagery and forms in nature do not, 
however, preclude references to paintings by other artists. The tentacled, 
many-legged form articulated most clearly in Kandinsky's drawing brings 
to mind Miro's familiar sign for female genitalia. In writing about his picture 
Carnival of Harlequin of 1914-25 (fig. 27), Miro refers specifically to the 
female sex organ in the form of a spider; he depicts it three times within the 
painting. 29 Moreover, in both Kandinsky's and Miro's paintings there are 
ladders at the upper left and white teardrop shapes adjacent to eyes at the 
lower left. Comparison of Striped and Carnival of Harlequin reveals not 
only similarities in specific motifs but also in overall composition. Soon after 
his arrival in Paris, Kandinsky met Miro and he surely saw the Surrealist's 
work in exhibitions— such as that at the Galerie des "Cahiers d'Art" in May 
1934— as well as in periodicals. In fact, Carnival of Harlequin and The Tilled 
Field (fig. 45) were among several influential pictures by Miro that were 
illustrated in the first issue of Cahiers d'Art in 1934 (no. 1-4), which imme- 
diately preceded the issue with Zervos's article devoted to Kandinsky's first 
Paris pictures. The motifs in such paintings by Kandinsky as Delicate Accents 
of 1935 (HL 624), Black Points (HL 637) and Accompanied Center of 1937 
(cat. no. 86) attest to his familiarity with Miro's work. 30 



7i 



fig. 28 

Paul Klee 

Gartentor Al. 1932 
Offentliche Kunstsammlung, 
Kunstmuseum Basel 




31. See Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. 
Apter and Elise K. Kenney, eds., The 
Societe Anonyme and the Dreier Be- 
quest at Yale University: A Catalogue 
Raisonne, New Haven, 1984, pp. 461- 
463. It is possible that Kandinsky had 
seen Miro's picture reproduced in the 
1926 catalogue of the Societe Anonyme 
exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum 
since he knew Katherine Dreier and 
corresponded with her often. 

32. See Rosalind E. Krauss, '"Magnetic 
Fields: The Structure," in Joan Miro: 
Magnetic Fields, exh. cat., New York, 
1972, p. 29. 

33. Klee Ocuvre Catalogue, nos. 75, 166, 
168, 175,213,240. 



During 1934 certain specific signs entered Kandinsky's pictorial vocabu- 
lary. The exclamation point makes its first appearance in Striped, and a single 
quotation mark or inverted comma can be discerned at the left edge in Domi- 
nant Violet and at the bottom center in Striped. The latter motif is isolated 
and accentuated in Green Accent of 1935 (cat. no. 51) and totally dominates 
Circuit of 1939 (cat. no. 114). The exclamation point recurs in Rigid and Bent 
of 1935 (HL 625) and Sweet Trifles of 193" (fig. 42). These signs had ap- 
peared in many works by Miro: for example, an exclamation point can be 
found in Le Renversement of 1924 which belonged to Katherine S. Dreier. 51 
However, Kandinsky's primary source of inspiration was undoubtedly Paul 
Klee. Pictorial signs such as arrows, exclamation points and apostrophes as 
well as numbers and words functioned as integral parts of Klee's composi- 
tions. 32 Kandinsky and Klee were close friends who met first in Munich in 
19 1 1 and who worked together at the Bauhaus. In fact, Klee and Kandinsky 
lived in a Master's double house in Dessau from June 1926 until early 1933 
and, even after they left Germany, stayed in contact. Kandinsky knew Klee's 
work intimately and would have understood the incorporation of punctua- 
tion marks in his art. Exclamation points can be found in Klee's pictures in the 
late teens and early twenties, and they become especially prevalent in 1932 
(for example, fig. 28). 33 Kandinsky was surely familiar with two of Klee's 
paintings that include exclamation points: Around the Fish of 1926 (Collec- 
tion The Museum of Modern Art, New York), which was reproduced in 
Grohmann's monograph on Klee in 1929,3s well as his Departure of the Ghost 
of 1931 (Collection Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine, Meriden, Connecticut), 
which was illustrated in the 1934 issue of Cahiers d' Art that also contained 
Zervos's article on Kandinsky. In addition, commas are prominently placed 
in Klee's paintings such as Stadt R of 19 19 (Collection Stadtische Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus, Munich) and Initial Landschaft of 1932 (Private Collection). 



72- 




i** 



?3&W •%) ■ 




WVJl'- 




fig. 30 

Saccharomyces fungus from Zellen-und 
Gewebelehre: Morphologic und 
Entwicklungsgeschichte. I. Botanischer 
Teil, 1913, p. 74 



fig. 19 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Succession. 1935 

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. 




fig- 3 1 

Cells of salamander larvae from 

Zoologischer Teil, 1913, p. 55 



In comparison with the remarkable innovations made in Kandinsky's work 
from 1934, the introduction of new motifs subsided during 1935-36. At this 
time the artist developed and elaborated upon the imagery he had recently 
invented. Paintings such as Accompanied Contrast and Two Green Points 
(cat. nos. 48, 54) retain images prevalent during the early 1930s, while the 
style of others shares similarities with the geometric idiom associated with the 
Bauhaus period in general: for example, Two Circles (HL 614) and Points 
(HL 621). In terms of specific images reflecting an awareness of natural 
sciences and biomorphic forms, several pictures provide relevant motifs. 
Succession (fig. 29; cat. no. 5-), which was painted in April 1935, consists of 
four horizontal registers that contain brightly colored, curving shapes. This 
format is familiar from the Bauhaus period, specifically from the watercolor 
Lines of Marks of 1931 (HL 441). Although the 1935 canvas and the earlier 
work on paper share the same composition, the imagery of the Paris picture 
represents a significant departure from that of his Bauhaus work. The thrust 
of the curving shapes and the distinctive placement of small circles balanced 
on these forms in the painting recall an illustration of saccharomyces fungus 
in Kandinsky's encyclopedia (fig. 30). A diagram of cells from salamander 
larvae (fig. 31) in another volume of this encyclopedia can also be associated 
with the dynamic forms in Succession. Not only the individual shapes but 
also their schematic articulation is similar in Kandinsky's painting and the 
scientific diagrams. 



73 





fig- 33 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Detail of Composition IX. 1936 

Collection Musee National d'Art 

Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 

Paris 



fig- 32- 

Vasily Kandinsky 
Variegated Black. 1935 
Formerly Galerie Maeght. Paris 



34. See Zoologischer Teil, p. 249. 



Several paintings from 1935-36 depict embryos. In Variegated Black of 
October 1935 (fig. 52.) three embryonic forms are recognizable: an early 
stage at the left edge, an adjacent, more clearly identifiable one painted 
white with a pink eye and a bright green imaginative variant on the right. In 
Kandinsky's major canvas Composition IX (cat. no. 7), which was com- 
pleted by February 1936, an obviously embryonic shape at the upper left is 
represented together with a yolk sac. Even the pink and white vertical zones 
can be read as the placental barrier that separates the fetal side from the 
maternal side. In the central portion of Composition IX there is ambiguity in 
the form that resembles both an embryo and a brine shrimp or crayfish (fig. 
33). 34 Elsewhere in the painting embryonic images also merge with allusions 
to brine shrimp and plankton (see fig. 2.x). An exactly coeval picture. Multiple 
Forms (cat. no. 60), manifests similar embryonic and crustacean images. 
Comparison of the canvas with a preparatory drawing reveals significant 
differences between the preliminary and final versions. The embryonic form 
at the upper right has not been explicitly defined in the sketch for Multiple 
Forms (fig. 34); however, the fish at the upper left has been omitted in the 
final version. This depiction of a fish resembles the angler fish in Kandinsky's 
clipping from von Borkow's article in Die Koralle. The image at the lower 
corner of Multiple Forms is clearly that of a fish. In Rigid and Bent of Decem- 
ber 1935, Kandinsky includes a marine creature— probably a sea horse- 
painted green and raised in slight relief because sand was added to the 
pigment. 



74 




fig- 34 

V'asily Kandinsky 

Drawing for Multiple Forms. 1936 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



fig- 35 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Green Figure. 1936 

Collection Musee National d'Art 

Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 

Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 



fig. 36 
Max Ernst 

The Interior of Sight: The Egg 
published in Cahiers d'Art, 1933 





35. See Werner Spies with Sigrid and 
Giinter Metken, Max Ernst: Werke 
1929-38, Houston and Cologne, 1979, 
nos. 1564-1567, 1574-1579, 1200-2102. 

36. See Zervos, VII, nos. 307-310 and 
Michel Leiris, 'Toiles recentes de 
Picasso," Documents, ze annee, no. 2, 
1930. 



It is difficult to identify any specific biological sources for Green Figure 
of March 1936 (fig. 35; cat. no. 62), although it brings to mind cross-sections 
of organisms. The greenish-tan figure suggests parallels with the work of Max 
Ernst and Picasso. In 1929 Ernst painted several versions of The Interior of 
Sight: The Egg where bird forms are contained within an oval, and in 1935 he 
did a series on the Garden of the Hesperides which also relates to Green Fig- 
ure. ** The organic contortions of Kandinsky's figure as well as the way it is 
separated by a "sac" from the surrounding pinkish tan background may refer 
to the first version of Ernst's The Interior of Sight: The Egg, which was repro- 
duced in Cahiers d'Art in 1933 (fig. 36). Several of Picasso's paintings of 
acrobats were published in Documents in 1930: these abstracted figures 
have elongated and distorted limbs similar to the shapes in Green Figure, 
and in some works the colors feature gray-tan and green (see cat. no. 63). 36 
Despite vague biomorphic associations, Green Figure appears to be an amal- 
gam of figures that were familiar to Kandinsky from other artists' work. 



75 





mi 



fig- 39 

Stages in the development of a worm from 
Zoologischer Teil, 1913, p. 217 




fig. 40 

Human and animal sperm from 
Zoologischer Teil, i<)i3,p. 56 



fig- 37 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Environment. 1936 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 










eg. 38 

Cell of worm egg from Zoologischer Teil, 
I9I3.P-49 



In complete contrast stands another painting by Kandinsky, Environ- 
ment from October 1936 (fig. 37). Here the artist has depicted in greatly 
enlarged scale an amoeba. The cell wall is clearly defined; many small multi- 
colored circles represent the cytoplasm and several colored zones corre- 
spond to vacuoles and a nucleus. Moreover, Kandinsky's painting closely re- 
sembles an illustration in his encyclopedia (fig. 38). Of all Kandinsky's works 
where biological references can be discerned, Environment is probably the 
most direct and obvious. 

Within the checkerboard format of Thirty (cat. no. 68) calligraphic and 
geometric patterns are placed over thirty alternately black and white squares. 
Kandinsky defines the images with wit and lively energy: an amoeba (second 
row and second from the left), a curving white form with six pendules 
(fourth row and fourth from the left) that resembles a developmental stage 
of a worm (fig. 39) and several varieties of sperm (top row at far left and 
fourth row at far left) that recur in many pictures and correspond to scien- 
tific illustrations (fig. 40). In general, the motifs are already familiar from 
Kandinsky's work. In Thirty the strict and exacting format of compartments 
has even greater meaning than the individual elements in its clear relation to 
scientific texts and diagrams (for example, fig. 41). 

Another canvas from 1937, Sweet Trifles (fig. 41), is based on rigid bilat- 
eral compartmentalization. Within the boxes Kandinsky juxtaposes geomet- 
ric patterns with biomorphic forms. He places an exclamation point over an 
earthworm balancing on an imaginatively colored caterpillar and positions 
an arrow next to a bright blue amphibian perching on a slug. The playfulness 
and humor of the picture are conveyed by its title. Bagatelles donees, and by 
the exclamation point. On the left side the articulation of many forms sug- 



76 










m ■•_ 



eg. 41 

Diagram of plant cells from Botanischer 
Teil, 1913, p. 53 




fig- 41 

Vastly Kandinsky 

Sweet Trifles. 193" 
Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 




fig- 45 

Joan Miro 

The Tilled Field. 1923-24 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 





fig- 43 

Nucleus of an echinoderm from 

Zoologischer Teil, 1913, p. 28 



fig- 44 

Stages in the development of a hydra 

from Zoologischer Teil, 1913, p. 197 



gests cellular matter; moreover, in the lower right corner the multicellular 
form distinctly resembles an illustration of the nucleus of an echinoderm in 
the zoology volume of Die Kultur der Gegenwart (fig. 43). 

Likewise, Accompanied Center (cat. no. 86) contains a clearly biological 
reference at the upper right: the horizontal, wavy, segmented shape looks like 
cross-sections of hydras that are illustrated in his encyclopedia (fig. 44). Ac- 
companied Center is filled with an abundance of images evocative of marine 
life: sea worms, hydras, diatoms, five larval forms suspended from a horizon- 
tal line at the lower right and scaly, spiny orange patterns in the center. In 
addition— and on a different level— Kandinsky's painting resembles Miro's 
The Tilled Field (fig. 45) in the wavy lines at the lower left, the prominent eye 



77 




UM D 

fig. 46 

Placental tissue from H. C. Waddington, 

How Animals Develop, 1936, p. 107 





fig. 48 

Praying mantis laying her eggs 



fig- 47 

Vastly Kandinsky 

Grouping. 1937 

Collection Moderna Museet, Stockholm 



yj. Musee National d'Art Moderne, Cen- 
tre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Kandin- 
sky Bequest AM 1981.65.678 

38. The caption reads "Gottesanbeterin 
liegt ibre Eier," and it was taken 
from p. 117. 

39. These are of watercolor illustrations 
by E. v. Bruckhausen and are from 
pp. 764 and 765 of an unidentified 
publication. 



at the upper right, the inclusion of flags and in the spikey black points out- 
lining shapes. Although it is doubtful that Kandinsky could have seen Miro's 
painting in an exhibition, he would have found it reproduced on page thirty 
in the first issue of Cahiers d'Art in 1934. 

During the summer of 1937 Kandinsky painted Capricious Forms (cat. 
no. 89), in which the imagery is emphatically biological. Yellow, pink, tan 
and green shapes look like sections of soft tissue. Specifically, the forms at 
bottom center and in the middle at the left edge are clearly recognizable as 
embryonic; others resemble contemporary illustrations of placental tissue 
(fig. 46). In a sketchbook containing many preparatory drawings, Kandinsky 
made a study with colored pencils for Capricious Forms which includes a 
greater variety of hues than the final version and shows an overall pink tonal- 
ity. 37 In the canvas red and green circles accentuate the shapes as well as the 
detailed red, blue and green linear patterns that articulate distinct layers of 
tissue. 

The next painting recorded in Kandinsky's Handlist is Grouping (fig. 
47), which was painted in September and October 1937. Two preparatory 
drawings as well as the final painted version reflect an insect world. Insect 
legs and bodies are suggested throughout, and a well-defined winged creature 
occupies the lower right corner. Basically mosquito-like, this creature also 
bears a certain resemblance to a photographic illustration of a praying mantis 
laying her eggs that Kandinsky clipped from an unidentified German maga- 
zine (fig. 48). 58 Among the artist's papers preserved in the Kandinsky Archive 
are other reproductions, in color, of insects that Kandinsky cut out and 
mounted on cardboard/'' Insects were symbolic and highly suggestive images 



78 









ng- 49 

Salamander cell from Allgemeine Biologie, 

I9I5.P-15I 

fig. 50 

Annelid from Zoologischer Teil, 1913, 
p. 2:34 

% 51 

Yasily Kandinsky 

Untitled drawing 
Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne. Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 



40. William S. Rubin and Carolyn 

Lanchner, Andre Masson, exh. cat., 
New York, 1977, pp. 43, 140, reprs. 
See also William S. Pressly, "'The 
Praying Mantis in Surrealist Art," The 
Art Bulletin, vol. LV, Dec. 1973, 
pp. 600-615. 




within Surrealist art. In 1934 Andre Masson painted Betrothal of Insects and 
Summer Divertissement, which depict praying mantises: these pictures must 
be seen in relation to Kandinsky's 193 - canvas. 40 

In April 1938 Kandinsky completed two oil paintings in which there are 
clear biological references. Ordered Arrangement (Many-Colored Ensemble) 
(cat. no. 92) contains within an oval center a plethora of small circles that 
have cellular associations (fig. 49). In addition, there are shapes resembling 
nematode and annelid worms (fig. 50), a pink bird at the left and an embry- 
onic form at the right. It was probably in relation to this embryo that Kan- 
dinsky made two small sketches (one of which is reproduced as fig. 51). To 
an even greater degree than in the painting Ordered Arrangement (Many- 
Colored Ensemble), the biological origins of the imagery are evident in these 
drawings. More stylized variations on this embryonic form persist in his work 
throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s. In Penetrating Green from April 
1938 (cat. no. 93) a red sperm is immediately recognizable and is promi- 
nently placed in the middle of the composition within a vertical receptacle 
on a green ground. Two large shapes that vaguely resemble sperm fill the 
lateral zones. Even Kandinsky's title is expressive of the imagery and leaves 
little doubt about the meaning. 

By 1938 Kandinsky's images become more fanciful, stylized and even 
decorative. For example, Sky Blue of March 1940 (cat. no. 116) retains bio- 
morphic forms familiar from the first years in Paris, but these are transformed 
into stylizations of the motifs. For the most part, Kandinsky's paintings, 
watercolors and drawings from 1938 and after no longer manifest the overtly 
zoological and embryological motifs that characterize his work from 1934 to 
1937. There are, however, vestiges of biological entities as well as specific 
biomorphic images. In general, Kandinsky does not depict embryonic forms 
after 1938; however, the exceptions— Intimate Celebration of 1942 and Broivn 
Impetus of 1943 (cat. nos. 144, 155)— refer back to Blue World (cat. no. 25) 



79- 



and Variegated Black (fig. 32). Another painting from 1943, Circle and Square 
(cat. no. 156) shows four figures with clear sexual references; the representa- 
tion of phallic images is indisputable. Although Kandinsky's title, Circle and 
Square (Cercle et carre), alludes to the magazine and exhibitions organized 
by the group of that name, it cannot disguise the nature of his imagery. 



41. See also Pbysiologie und Okologie: 
1. Botanischer Teil, 1917, p. 165, which 
is reproduced as fig. 73 in Point and 
Line to Plane. 

41. The author studied the encyclopedia 
volumes in Apr. 1984 at the Centre 
Georges Pompidou. 

43. See Grohmann, pp. 187-188 and 
Barnett, 1983, pp. 43-44. 

44. Sarah Lynn Henry, "Form-Creating 
Energies: Paul Klee and Physics," Arts, 
vol. 51, Sept. 1977, pp. 119, 111. How- 
ever, according to Felix Klee in conver- 
sation with the author, July 19, 1984, 
the encyclopedia series is not included 
among the books that belonged to Paul 
Klee that are now in his possession. 

45. I am indebted to Christian Derouet for 
this information and also for bringing 
the clippings to my attention. 

46. Wassily Kandinsky, Tutti gli scritti: 
Punto e Unci net piano, Articoli teorici, 
I corsi inediti al Baubaus, Philippe 
Sers, ed., Milan, 1973, p. 183. 

4-. Ibid., pp. 1S4, 189, 190. 



In addition to the visual evidence which has been described at length, there 
is substantial physical evidence of other kinds and significant documentary 
proof to link images in Kandinsky's art with scientific illustrations in his en- 
cyclopedia. In preparation for Point and Line to Plane, which was published 
in 192.6, he executed a pencil drawing (fig. 52). The inscription provides the 
source, because in it Kandinsky copied the caption, "Lockeres Bindegewebe 
von der Ratte," and also specified the title, "D. Knit. d. Gegenw." the vol- 
ume, "Abteilung IV 2 ," and page number.' 1 It is this volume on zoology that 
contains by far the largest number of illustrations corresponding to images 
in Kandinsky's work. In addition to the obvious reference in Point and Line to 
Plane, the artist left traces in his own copy of this encyclopedia volume. Next 
to page five, where an amoeba is illustrated (fig. 53), there is a small piece of 
paper with Kandinsky's handwriting, and facing page 234, where an annelid 
is reproduced (fig. 50), his calling card is inserted as a marker. 42 In the other 
volume of Abteilung IV 2 , whose subject is botany, Kandinsky put slips of 
paper between pages 138 and 139 as well as 154 and 155, and wrote on each 
"Kreis" or circle. The illustration on page 138 depicts the cross-section of 
a plant stem with many rings of quite uniform circles, while that on page 
139 (fig. 54) contains rounded shapes with much greater variety in size and 
configuration. In view of Kandinsky's love for the circle as a formal element 
as well as the symbolic significance of the motif in his work from about 1922 
to 1930, 43 it is not surprising that he would respond to obviously circular 
forms in his encyclopedia. What is interesting is the way he sees the abstract 
forms of art in nature. 

In the volume on general biology, the invitation card to the opening of 
Kandinsky's exhibition of watercolors and drawings at the Galerie Ferdinand 
Moller on January 30, 1932, is placed between pages 218 and 219. In addi- 
tion, inserted in the section on botany in the volumes on physiology and 
ecology are an invitation to an opening for the Kreise der Frettude des 
Bauhauses on January 15, 1932, and an invitation to a Lyonel Feininger exhi- 
bition organized by this group in January 1932. The fact that all three mark- 
ers date from January 1932 proves that Kandinsky was using his encyclopedia 
at that time. During the 1920s volumes of the same encyclopedia were influ- 
ential for Paul Klee." Moreover, other artists at the Bauhaus were aware of 
various volumes on science in this series. However, the impact of its biolog- 
ical illustrations— principally from the volume on zoology— becomes apparent 
in Kandinsky's work only after he moved to Paris. 

Likewise, there is evidence that Kandinsky cut the photographic repro- 
ductions now preserved among his papers out of magazines and newspapers 
during the early 1930s, while he was still at the Bauhaus. |S The article on 



80 




fig- 5^ 

Yasily Kandinsky 

Drawing for Point and Line to Plane after 
Zoologischer Teil 

Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 








' 




/ 



• ' 




fig- 53 

Amoeba from Zoologischer 

Teil, i9i3,p. 5 



fig- 54 

Cross-section of plant stem from 
Botjnischer Teil, 1913, p. 139 



fig- 55 

Diatoms 



deep-sea life in Die Koralle ^figs. 2,1, zi 1 appeared in February 19 31. Virtu- 
ally all the press cuttings have captions in German, thus indicating a date 
prior to 1934. Although most of the specific publications remain unknown 
pending further research, many of the images are of animals, airplanes, 
people from primitive cultures, objects shown under high magnification and 
subjects generally characterized as technology and nature. In his Bauhaus 
teaching notes for the second, or summer, semester of 193 1, Kandinsky com- 
pared art, science, technology and nature. 46 His list of images to show in- 
cludes a Mercedes-Benz car, a Junkers airplane, an aerial view and a giraffe: 
a photograph or magazine illustration of each still exists among the artist's 
papers. Another very significant clipping (fig. 55) shows diatoms arranged 
within a rigid, bilateral format that resembles the pictorial organization of 
Sweet Trifles (fig. 42). Diatoms— unicellular algae or microscopic plankton 
found in both fresh and salt water— are recognizable in several of Kandin- 
sky's paintings from the Paris years. 

Thus, Kandinsky's interest in scientific and natural phenomena is dem- 
onstrated by his treatise Point and Line to Plane and by his pedagogical ma- 
terial for the Bauhaus courses. Likewise, his familiarity with volumes of his 
encyclopedia, Die KultUT der Gegenwart, is confirmed by these sources. 47 
However, the artist only introduced biological motifs into his work after he 
moved to Paris. It is relevant, at this point, to consider what natural history 
and scientific resources were available there in 1934. Although there is no 
proof that Kandinsky ever visited the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle 
in Paris, its extensive and impressive collections, which were permanently 
on view in galleries adjacent to the Jardin des Plantes, would have been 
accessible and instructive. Photographs dating from 1932. to 1935 in the 
Museum Archives document the Galerie de Zoologie and the Galerie d'Anat- 
omie Comparee de Paleontologie et d'Anthropologie. The former contained 



81 



48. The Galerie de Zoologie has been 
closed to the public for years, but 
M. Laissus and Mme Rufino kindly 
allowed me to see the displays in the 
galleries, which have all remained 
intact. 

49. Karl Baedeker, Paris and Its Environs, 
Paris, 1937, p. 353. 

50. Abstammungslehre: Systematik, 
Palaontologie, Biogeographie, Leipzig 
and Berlin, 1914, pp. 311-323, marker 
PP-352--353- 

51. William Rubin, Miro in the Collection 
of The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York, 1973, PP- 58-62, 124. 

52. Charlotte Stokes, "The Scientific 
Methods of Max Ernst: His Use of 
Scientific Subjects from La Nature," 
Art Bulletin, vol. 62, Sept. 1980, pp. 
454-465; Aaron Scharf, "Max Ernst, 
Etienne-Jules Marey and the Poetry of 
Scientific Illustration," in One Hundred 
Years of Photographic History, Van 
Deren Coke, ed., Albuquerque, 1975, 
pp. 1 1 8- 1 26 and Werner Spies, Max 
Ernst— Loplop: The Artist in the Third 
Person, New York, 1983, pp. 91-95. 

5 5. letter from Arp to Kandinsky dated 
Nov. 12, 1933, preserved in the Kan- 
dinsky Archive, Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris. 



vast numbers of cases filled with all varieties of fish, starfish, Crustacea, shells 
and insects. 48 Immediately upon entering the latter, one finds thousands of 
fetal specimens in glass jars. Comprising many species and organized accord- 
ing to the embryological development of organs and central systems, this 
permanent exhibition makes an overwhelming and unforgettable impression 
on the viewer. The collection of comparative anatomy was founded by 
Georges Cuvier. 49 It cannot be coincidental that in one of Kandinsky's en- 
cyclopedia volumes, there are obvious signs of perusal (coffee stains) as well 
as a marker for the pages relevant to Cuvier. 50 The Zoology Gallery and the 
Comparative Anatomy Gallery at the Museum were established in the late 
nineteenth century and to this day retain virtually their original appearance. 
It should be mentioned that, in contrast, the Musee d'Ethnographie at the 
Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle was closed in August 1935 and re- 
opened at a new location at the present Trocadero on the occasion of the 
Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques in 1937. 

During the mid-i930S many artists took an active interest in various 
scientific disciplines and incorporated related images and concepts in their 
work. Marcel Duchamp, Miro, Ernst and Klee as well as Kandinsky demon- 
strated an awareness of and responsiveness to science. Many images in Miro's 
pictures clearly derive from biological species and refer to natural phenom- 
ena. Miro uses technological motifs such as machines and utilitarian objects 
as a springboard for other paintings: his large abstract Fainting of June 1933 
(Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York) is based on a collage 
of woodworking tools. 51 Ernst found inspiration in scientific illustrations 
throughout his career. In 1934 he painted Blind Swimmer (The Effect of 
Touch) (formerly Collection Julien Levy), which is an amalgam of two pho- 
tographs demonstrating air flow that were published in La Nature magazine 
in September 1901. 52 His coeval painting titled Blind Swimmer (Collection 
The Museum of Modern Art, New York) is based on a diagram showing the 
effects of magnetism. Both canvases were reproduced in the issue of Cahiers 
d'Art in 1934 that included Kandinsky's recent pictures, and Ernst's work 
was exhibited at Zervos's gallery in June of that year. Moreover, Ernst's 
1934 mural for the Corso Bar in Zurich relies upon an illustration from Flore 
des serres et des jardins of 1847. In canvases as well as collages, Ernst presents 
images from nineteenth- and early twentieth-century scientific illustration 
and photography. 

Early in 1934 in Paris Kandinsky surely became aware of a general in- 
terest in science there and he must have perceived even more acutely the 
current predilection for Surrealist art. The previous autumn Kandinsky had 
exhibited with the Surrealists in the annual show organized by the Associa- 
tion Artistiqtte Les Surindependants and, in this regard, Arp had written to 
him: "your paintings hang beautifully, you lead the Surrealist procession." 5 
Kandinsky had known Arp since 191 1 and had participated in Dada activities 
at the Galerie Dada and Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in 1916. By the 1930s 
there was no longer a Surrealist movement in Paris, since various members 
of the group were by then pursuing different directions. However, Kandinsky 
encountered several individuals who had been associated with the Surrealist 



82 



fig. 56 

Hans Arp 

Two He.iJs. 1919 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 

New York. Purchase 




54. Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Cubism .uid 
Abstract Art, exh. cat., New York, 
1936, p. 68. 



group soon after his arrival: he saw Arp and met Miro in March and he had 
contact with Ernst and Man Ray in June. Kandinsky's paintings such as 
Striped and Accompanied Center (cat. nos. 29, 86) relate to both biological 
forms and Surrealist imagery in the work of Miro. To an even greater de- 
gree, a correspondence is visible between Kandinsky's pictures and Arp's 
work, where organic shapes with their sense of vitality and growth are par- 
ticularly evocative. Images similar to the freestanding biomorphic forms 
familiar from Arp's sculptures— Torso of 1931 and Human Concretion of 
1934— can be detected in Kandinsky's canvases Composition IX of 1936 and 
Various Actions of 1941 (cat. nos. 7, 123). Arp's relief Two Heads of 1929 
(fig. 56) closely resembles specific rounded forms in Kandinsky's painting 
Dominant Violet (fig. 19; cat. no. 27), as well as the encyclopedia illustration 
depicting the stages in the development of a worm (fig. 39). The congruence 
of biological forms and Surrealist motifs is striking— and refers to the work of 
Arp. In fact, the influence of Surrealism in general and Arp and Miro in 
particular probably inspired Kandinsky to introduce biological images into 
his work in 1934. 

Although the influence of Arp and Miro upon his Paris period appears 
undeniable, Kandinsky reacted strongly when, in 1936, Alfred Barr stated in 
the Cubism and Abstract Art catalogue that "in the last few years he has 
turned to more organic forms, perhaps under the influence of the younger 
Parisians, Miro and Arp, to whom he pointed the way twenty years before. 54 
Kandinsky wrote to Galka Scheyer: 

The last straw, however, is the conjecture that my Parisian painting may 
have been influenced by Arp or Miro. With equal justification Barr could 
have named Corot instead of Arp and Velazquez instead of Miro. One 



83 



sv letter from Kandinsky to Galka 
Scheyer dated May 29, 1936. Author's 
translation. 

56. Lindsay and Vergo II, p. 803. 

57. For example, an early reference to 
"grown men and embryos" in his dis- 
cussion lit ornamentation in On The 
Spiritual in Art does not have meaning 
unli regard to science (Lindsay and 
Vergo I, p. 199). 

^s. Scritti, p. 290. 

59. Lindsay and Vergo II, p. 779. 



learns from everyone— even from the weak (as one should not!). Mird 
once told me he would be forever grateful for the "liberation." 1 often 
hear such things from younger artists who have no reason to flatter me. 
Actually these "influences" are not essential to form, which historians 
seldom recognize. The adoption of form is decadence. I am grateful to 
Barr, however, because he doesn't trace my painting from Cubism?'' 

Kandinsky's art differs from the work of the Surrealists in several essen- 
tial ways: it does not delve into the unconscious and it does not concern 
itself with either mythology or dreams. In his pictures there is no evidence 
of the influence of Freud and psychoanalysis. Kandinsky never experimented 
with automatism and did not use accident as a creative method. His work 
lacks both found objects and collages. Moreover, Kandinsky did not share 
the Communist political orientation of many Surrealists. Although Kan- 
dinsky's correspondence reflects a quite vehement opposition to Surrealism, 
his published writings are more restrained. In his 1937 essay "Assimilation 
of Art," written for an issue of Linien that included work by several artists 
with strong Surrealist associations, he alludes only obliquely to the style. 
Here he reveals a relatively moderate position toward forms in nature: 

Therefore, I do not become shocked when a form that resembles a "form 
in nature" insinuates itself secretively into my other forms. I just let it 
stay there and 1 will not erase it. Who knows, maybe all our "abstract" 
forms are "forms in nature," but . . . "objects of use?" 
These art forms and forms in nature (without purpose) have an even 
clearer sound that we must absolutely listen to.'' 6 

While Kandinsky's writings are critical of Surrealism, they say surpris- 
ingly little about biological sciences— especially embryology and zoology. 57 
The few references in Point and Line to Plane and in his Bauhaus teaching 
notes have already been cited. In the latter he discusses zoology and equates 
unicellular organisms (protozoa) with organisms capable of polymorphic 
development, and thus of becoming "a sum"; and he speaks of protozoa as 
"original beings." 58 In August 1935 Kandinsky wrote a short text for the 
Danish periodical Konkretiou, in which he referred to his earlier published 
writings and stated that: 

this experience of the "hidden soul" in all the things, seen either by the 
unaided eye or through microscopes or binoculars, is what I call the "in- 
ternal eye." This eye penetrates the hard shell, the external "form," goes 
deep into the object and lets us feel with all our senses its internal 
"pidse."" 



Since an explanation or documentation of the embryological and zoological 
forms in Kandinsky's paintings is absent from his writings, interpretations and 
meanings proposed for them remain hypothetical. The very fact that em- 
bryos are depicted so frequently in Kandinsky's work in 1934 and subsequent 
years raises questions about his personal lite. Early in 1917 the artist, then 



84 



60. 1 am indebted to Karl Flinker for this 
information conveyed in correspon- 
dence with the author, Apr. 2.9, 1983. 

61. 1 am most grateful to Peter H. Barnett 
for his assistance, especially on the his- 
tory of science and philosophy. 

61. Ernst Mayr, The Growth of Biological 
Thought, Cambridge, Mass., 1982, 
PP- 471-474- 

63. Eric Wahl brought these interrelation- 
ships to my attention and assisted me 
with many research questions. 

64. Haeckel (1834-1919) is referred to fre- 
quently in several volumes of Die 
Kultur der Gegemcart: Allgemeine 
Biologie, Anthropologie and Natur- 
philosophie. Two important books on 
him were published in 1934: Gerhard 
Heberer, Ernst Haeckel und seine 
wissenschaftliche Bedeutung. Zum 
Gedachtnis der 100. Wiederkehr seines 
Geburtstages, Tubingen, and Heinrich 
Schmidt, Ernst Haeckel: Denkmal 
eines grossen Lebens, Jena. 



fifty-one years old, married Nina Andreevskaia, who was very much younger 
than he. According to all the information known about them and according 
to their friends, the Kandinskys had no children. Recently, after Nina Kan- 
dinsky's death, it has emerged that they had a son called Volodia who was 
born in September 1917 and died in June 1920. 60 This fact remained a com- 
plete secret during Vasily's and Nina's lifetimes. Although there is no evi- 
dence that events in Kandinsky's life influenced his art, the subconscious 
effects of personal experiences may have emerged many years after their oc- 
currence. When he was old and relatively isolated in Paris, Kandinsky's 
awareness of his childlessness may have become increasingly acute. Can we 
deny the relevance of the artist's personal life when his paintings reflect it? 

Approached from an entirely different point of view, Kandinsky's paint- 
ings of the Paris period suggest a specific biological and philosophical con- 
cept. 61 His apparently conscious effort to create biomorphic forms that 
simultaneously resemble embryos and marine invertebrates can be related to 
the "principle of recapitulation," the rule or heuristic maxim that the devel- 
opment of the embryo of each organism passes rapidly through phases resem- 
bling its evolutionary ancestors. Thus, it is commonly observed that the 
human fetus successively takes on fish-like, amphibian, reptilian and bird- 
like characteristics before developing distinctly mammalian features. Fur- 
thermore, the human embryo shares these stages, which occur during the 
first several weeks of development, with all mammal embryos. The diagram 
of comparative embryological development (fig. 7) was made after Darwin 
and supports his theory by showing that successive evolutionary specializa- 
tions are superimposed on existing structures, and that the earlier stages are 
vestigially retained. 

There are a number of hypothetical reasons why Kandinsky would have 
been interested in, even intrigued with, the principle of recapitulation, which 
was extremely popular from 1870 to 1910. 62 While the principle that ontogeny 
(embryonic development) repeats phylogeny (successive evolution of major 
zoological groups) antedates Darwinian evolution theory by several decades, 
the most fruitful application of the principle was as an indirect proof of evo- 
lution itself. The person who attempted this proof was Ernst Heinrich 
Haeckel, who was one of Darwin's most prominent early supporters. Haeckel 
used the principle to make major advances in linking comparative anatomy 
to embryology in his area of greatest expertise, marine invertebrates. He also 
used the principle to postulate the "missing link," Pithecanthropus, between 
man and ape. In his fieldwork Haeckel focused on marine invertebrates— 
radiolaria, hydras and medusas— the very images prevalent in Kandinsky's 
Paris pictures. An accomplished draftsman, he was responsible for the illus- 
trations as well as the text in Kunstformen der Natur (see fig. 20). How- 
ever, he was most famous for his theoretical work in embryology. 63 Around 
the turn of the century his fame was such that Kandinsky must have been 
familiar with his work. 61 

Second, Kandinsky would have been interested in the phylogeny/ontog- 
eny recapitulation principle because of its resemblance to an ancient, spiri- 
tually oriented philosophical theme which inverts its order; namely, the 



85 



65. See Rose-Carol Washton Long, Kan- 
dinsky: The Development of an Ab- 
stract Style, Oxford, 1980, ch. a, Sixten 
Ringbom, The Sounding Cosmos: A 
Study in the Spiritualism of Kandinsky 
and the Genesis of Abstract Painting, 
Abo, 1970, and Sixten Ringbom, "Kan- 
dinsky und das Okkulte" in Kandinsky 
und Miinchen, exh. cat., Munich, 
1982., pp. 85-101. 

66. I would like to thank Cynthia Good- 
man for her insights and Nancy Spector 
for her assistance with research on this 
subject. 

67. This issue of Lucifer Gnosis is not pre- 
served in either the Gabriele Miinter- 
und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, 
Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in 
Munich or in the Kandinsky Archive, 
Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris. 
The latter possesses only one copy of 
Lucifer Gnosis (no. 14 from July 1904). 
However, Kandinsky's knowledge of 
several texts in Lucifer Gnosis (nos. 8, 
io-n, 18-19, 30-34) has been proven by 
Sixten Ringbom ("Die Steiner Anno- 
tationen Kandinskys" in Kandinsky 
und Miinchen, exh. cat., Munich, 
1981, pp. 102-105). 

68. In the Archiv und Bibliothek of the 
Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, 
the author consulted "Haeckel und 
seine Gegner," "Ernst Haeckel und die 
Weltratsel," "Die Kampfe um Haeckels' 
'Weltratsel,' " "Die Kultur der Gegen- 
wart im Spiegel der Theosophie" and 
"Haeckel, die Weltratsel und die Theo- 
sophie." The best published source is 
Johannes Hemleben, Rudolf Steiner 
und Ernst Haeckel, Stuttgart, 1965. 

69. For general references in art-historical 
literature, see Rose-Carol Washton, 
Kandinsky: Parisian Period 1914-1944, 
exh. cat.. New York, 1969, pp. 16-17 
and "Vasily Kandinsky: A Space Odys- 
sey," Art News, vol. 1.XVIII, Oct. 1969, 
p. 49 as well as Hans Konrad Roethel, 
Kandinsky, New York, 1979, p. 42. 



intellectual or spiritual development of humanity from prehistoric times 
corresponds to the intellectual and spiritual growth of each individual. Georg 
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind and Philosophy of His- 
tory are founded on this principle and it is prevalent in the work of a variety 
of nineteenth-century thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Herbert 
Spencer. 

Finally, Kandinsky is known to have been familiar with theosophy and 
its literature. 65 There is evidence in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky, the founder 
of the movement, that she and other theosophists were both acutely aware of 
and ambivalent toward mid-nineteenth century developments in natural 
history and embryology. 66 Although Blavatsky abhorred the materialistic 
interpretation Haeckel and Thomas Henry Huxley gave to the recapitulation 
principle, she cited parallels to it in ancient cabalistic and Vedantic writings. 
The theosophists believed that man's spirit governed the whole evolutionary 
process and that humanity developed from amorphous egg-like creatures 
through a hermaphrodite stage before becoming sexually differentiated. 
Thus, the theosophists came to agree with the most advanced biologists that 
all life proceeds from a single original germ. However, for theosophists this 
germ is not protoplasm but the spirit. Rudolf Steiner lectured extensively on 
Haeckel and his theories of evolution in relation to theosophy in 1905-06 and 
his text "Haeckel, die Weltratsel und die Theosophie" was first published in 
Lucifer Gnosis, no. 31, in 1905. 6 ' Steiner's writings on the subject date from 
as early as 1899 and his vital interest in Haeckel's ideas continued throughout 
his life. By 1913, when Steiner organized the Anthroposophical Society, the 
relevant texts had been published in many editions in German and they 
would later be translated into Russian, French and English. 68 

In terms of Kandinsky's painting, embryological imagery can be inter- 
preted on multiple levels. First, the embryonic forms are not immediately 
recognizable: art historians, critics and viewers in general have been slow 
to identify even the part of nature from which he derived his motifs. 69 As in 
the paintings Kandinsky executed in Munich before World War I, the images 
are hidden and abstracted from reality. When natural forms are shown under 
great magnification or excerpted from their contexts, their identities are dis- 
guised. However, a leaf is still a leaf even though it no longer looks like one. 
Second, an embryo is not recognizable as an adult member of its species yet 
it contains implicitly everything that it will become. The genetic makeup of 
each embryo will determine its psychological as well as physical being. More- 
over, the embryo is a generalized image. At an early stage it is neither osten- 
sibly human nor individual: it is already an abstraction. 

In a note to Point and line to Platte, Kandinsky explicitly connects em- 
bryonic and evolutionary development to abstract art. 

Abstract art, despite its emancipation, is subject here also to "natural 
laws," and is obliged to proceed in the same way that nature did pre- 
viously, when it started in a modest way with protoplasm and cells, 

progressing very gradually to increasingly complex organisms. Today, 
abstract art creates also primary or more or less primary art-organisms. 



86 



whose further development the artist today can predict only in uncertain 
outline, and which entice, excite him, but also calm him when he stares 
into the prospect of the future that faces him. Let me observe here that 
those who doubt the future of abstract art are, to choose an example, as 
if reckoning with the stage of development reached by amphibians, which 
are far removed from fully developed vertebrates and represent not the 
final result of creation, but rather the "beginning." "" 

Kandinsky's images of amoebas, embryos and marine invertebrates convey 
a spiritual meaning of beginning, regeneration and a common origin of all 
life. Because of his spiritual beliefs and his ideas on abstract art, Kandinsky 
would have responded to the meanings of rebirth and renewal inherent in 
the new imagery of his Paris pictures. 



70. Lindsay and Vergo II, p. 628. 



CATALOGUE 



English titles precede the original-language 
titles, which appear in parentheses. 

When Kandinsky gave his paintings or 
watercolors a number in his Handlist (HL) 
or watercolors Handlist (HL watercolors), 
this is cited after the title and date. 

Dimensions are given in inches and centi- 
meters; height precedes width precedes 
depth. 

'Indicates not in exhibition, 
indicates not illustrated. 



89 



I. KANDINSKY AND THE MUSEES NATIONAUX 
IN FRANCE 







90 



i View of Exhibition "( higines et develop- 
pemcnt de l\irt international independ- 
ent," Paris, )eu de Paume, July ?o- 
October _ji, 1937. 1937 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Vasily Kandinsky 

1 With the Black Arc (Mit schwarzem 
Bogen). Fall 1912 
(HL 154) 

Oil on canvas, 74% x 78" (189 x 198 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 




91 



Vasily Kandinsky 
3 On White (Auf Weiss). February-April 
1925 
(HL153) 

Oil on canvas, 41% x 38%,;" 
(105 x 98 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinskv 




92- 



Vastly Kandinsky 
4 Development in Brown (Entwicklung 
in Brann). August 1933 
iHL S94 ) 

Oil on canvas, 41 \s x 4- 1 4" 

(105 x no cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 




93 



Vasily Kandinsky 
*5 Between Two (Entre deux). May 1934 
(HL 601) 

Mixed media on canvas, 51^6 x 38y 16 " 
(130 x97 cm.) 
Private Collection 




94 



Vasily Kandinsky 
6 Dominant Curve (Courbe dominante). 

April 1936 

(HL631) 

Oil on canvas, so% x 76! : " 

(119.4 x 194-^cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 



OOO 




95 



Vasily Kandinsky 
7 Composition IX. February 1936 
(HL 626) 

Oil on canvas, 44 n /i6 x 76%" 
(113.5 x195 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 




96 



Vasily Kandinsky 
8 Drawing of Frame for "Composition IX" 
(Cadre pour "Composition IX"). 
April 16, 1939 

Pencil on paper, 3 3 4 x 5" (9.5 x 12.8 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 
9 Study for "Composition IX" (Etude pour 
la "Composition IX"). 1936 
Pencil and India ink on paper, 
ii'-'ic x 19T16" (.U-5 x $0.6 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




^ 



/ 



97 



Vasily Kandinsky 

10 White Line (La Ligne blanche). June 1936 
(HL watercolors 571) 
Gouache and tempera on black paper 
mounted on cardboard, 19% x 15V4" 
(49.9 x 38.7 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



11 Letter from Andre Dezarrois, Musee du 
Jeu de Paume, to Kandinsky. July 9, 1937 

Typescript on paper, io 13 /i 6 x 7%" 
(27.5 x 20 cm.) 

Collection Musee National du Louvre, 
Paris 












DI 








..-■.'■. NATION ALB 


I.M j 9 julllat 1337 






on tcoun nu«un 
























■cauieur W.KASDIIISKX 

175 Boulerard de 1« Sain* 
HSUIIXI SDR SBIHE 






ItaWl.U*, 




Ja tou3 prla de hit 
Imposition "Orljines at 1 -Yalopoeaent 
: or. teapot In" qui s'ourrlra au kMs4"e du 
las Ubleiux cl-apres: 


□ soulolr aa prater pour 
de i'»rt tnternstloru.1 
Jeu da Pause la ~:t Jullat 




I" le Qrsnd tableau tnclen qui ae trours dans »otra itillir 
2' la tableau en brun. la dsrnler pelnt ■ Berlin 
;■ un tsblanu recent de 1* mUe dimension que la If'S »fln d' 
equlllbrer roere pannaeu. 






AU c;s on aon chol 
reulllez nous donner las t -tleiui da to 
de na pas dopasser 6 o*tres da clsalse. 


tre ctioli, i condition 






Avee aei reaerclesenta accepter. Monsieur 
1 ' lasurnnce da aea sent aenti dlatlnfufl 






r 


14MU M u J • > 








r 


t 



98 



ii a-b Letter from Kandinsky to Andre Dez.ir- 

rois, Musee Ju Jen de Paume, and Enclosed 
List of Loans for Exhibition at Musee 
du Jen de Paume. July 15, 1937 
Letter, typescript on paper, io li /i 6 x 7yg" 
(27.5 x 10 cm.); enclosure, typescript on 
paper, io 1 ' i„ x -" s " (27.5 x 20 cm.) 

Collection Musee National du Louvre, 
Paris 



13 Enclosure from Letter from Kandinsky 
to Andre Dezarrois. 1937 
Ink on paper, 77/8 x 5'/ 16 " (20 x 13 cm.) 
Collection Musee National du Louvre, 
Paris 



14 Enclosure from Letter from Kandinsky 
to Andre Dezarrois. 1937 
Ink on paper, 7% x $V lb " (20 x 13 cm.) 

Collection Musee National du Louvre, 
Paris 



■■ulllt ■ S.. 19S :*J d. 1. S.to*. 



HouLur "f"'" Street. 



!• IS Julll.t 



• t •□ric J'.l r.uaal da prdaaatar 4 ;irtMii da ui dataloppe- 
■tot. laalttauxauaaBant J'al tit forod da ..u, truaar la T.oa.- da 
•a r.™ "..o.fl.cr.utiV o'aat-B-dlra a una toll* a. l'..l 
' tt*; : it' t ca Is 4'), ou *• ladaaa 

•tuiwliitni 4*naa«a'. 

Toll* ttt pdrlodaa prdaaat.at 

•L'aro nolr * 1B18. parlode lit "Ijrlitua* 

as* a* aaa tiastaraa 
u::» •non-fl*.*) 
•Sut nana * IBM ■ • Trodd* 



olalra. Ittila , 



' 1»J3 . 

lej-t at 









nn.ro ft 



'lair- Jm 

■dcttr>« Joflrmpt*' 1S3<? .... ■ • >ajntb<.t lq.ua' 

0«i jaralaraa dam taU«> itici daa iiuiki a* u t .-~oauot lun 



J. « »r*at« 
iMtqal ,«j- ■> 
La,[<ortaiita eul 



■ o0 » Blan yrlar da fair* •ocriwb.Br «i> liliiv. 
ir 1- :.iu »ojoiQt. - una OtiOaa TT.iMBt iri. 

i ,»l.ijtujo . J* loj aarala trttti raooanulaaoDt . 



■on art tii ,ablic Larlalai 
I'apiai i'u, raaalso da I 
at i .ailOu'-»a. 






^=-^, 



jt_7 



I 








3- Lu. 



fa*-*-* C* ' 1mA) 'XtU- 



jk. 5- 






I 






■ r7 f^ ) 



'hiw*lutpn%wB% an I 
■totr. j.oa* 



■>■: lin . ■»!-: .'.,,.■ 



I<milly a/B., ili a. a* la 

1912 (Vo 15*) Pra. JOU.uOO- 

1823 (■(> 253) ■ Ooll. »rl»*a 

in' 1933 (Mo 6M) Coll. vrlvaa 

IBM (10 6ul) ■ 30.000- 

1936 (.to 6J1) ' 100.000- 



laa s»ucta a iir-lta) 



031 10 i9» He 164 No E5J 



L'aalaea .ICra antra J 

,4m artt Mao nnt.ua— 
3a l'ft»r»jnla aaoaaa. 













? 




;•, '«, 



99 



II. KANDINSKY'S SURROUNDINGS 
IN NEUILLY-SUR-SEINE 




IOO 



15 View of Neuilly-sur-Seine. n.d. 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



16 View of Neuilly-sur-Seine. n.d. 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




IOI 



17 View of Neuilly-sur-Seine. n.d. 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





1 







102 



18 View of Bois de Boulogne and Rose Garden 
of Bagatelle, Neuilly-sur-Seine. n.d. 
Postcard 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



OB 

' r £* 


- 2$& 








* » ?'• - *a=» •■»*-*•" ******* si 1 


■UJ 


.•jfflfcsw ... ' t! " ^ *J 


HfKM 

i 



103 



Joseph Breitenbach 
19 View from Kandinsky's Apartment in 

Neuilly-sur-Seine. 1938 

Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 




104 



Joseph Breitenbach 

> Vieu from Kandittsk/s Apartment in 
Neuilly-surSeine. 1938 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




105 



III. KANDINSKY'S FIRST PAINTINGS EXECUTI 
IN PARIS, 1934-1939 



.» y _ .i.i'.i.T ii'- 



-ftfhf- 



•ll tull 



f 
i!>n 



1= '/ 



4ii> 



• « »•«»*«• 







106 



Vasily Kandinsky 
11 Graceful Ascent (Montie grjcieuse). 
March 1934 
(HL 596) 

Oil on canvas, }i% x 31%" 
(S0.4 x S0.7 cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 



Vasily Kandinsky 
22 Each for Himself (Chacun pour soi). 
April 1934 
(HL 598) 

Oil and tempera on canvas, 23% x 28" 
(60 x 71 cm.) 
Private Collection 




107 



Vasily Kandinsky 
23 Study for "Each for Himself" 

(Etude en aquarelle pour "Chacun pour 
soi"). March 1934 
(HL watercolors 52.2b) 
Watercolor and India ink on paper, 
I2 ] 2 X9's" (31-6 x 24.4 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




108 



Vasily Kandinsky 
24 Ensemble. April 1934 
(HL 599) 

Oil and watercolor on canvas, 
i3 5 / 8 x 17I 2" (60 x 70 cm.) 
Lent by Davlyn Gallery, New York 




*+"*& 




109 



KANDINSKY'S PAINTINGS 
WITH SAND 



Vasily Kandinsky 

25 Blue World (Monde bleu). May 1934 
(HL602) 

Oil with sand on canvas, 43V2 x 47 3 /a" 
(110.6 x 120.2 cm.) 
Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 




no 



Vasily Kandinsky 
id Study for "Blue World" (Etude pour 
"Monde bleu"). 1934 
Pencil on paper, 5 7 / l0 x 5> s i, " 
(14. 1 x 15 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 








III 



Vastly Kandinsky 
27 Dominant Violet (Violet dominant). 
June 1954 
(HL 603) 

Oil with sand on canvas, 51^6 x 63 3 /4" 
(130 x 162 cm.) 
Collection Mark Goodson, New York 




1 11 



Vasily Kandinsky 
*28 Reljtions. July 1934 
(HL 604) 

Oil with sand on canvas, 55' 1 , x 4\ n /i6" 

(89 x 1 16 cm.) 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd 

Kreeger 




"3 



Vasily Kandinsky 
29 Striped (Raye). November 1934 
(HL 609) 

Oil with sand on canvas, 3i 7 / 8 x 39 3 /g" 
(81 x 100 cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 




114 



Willi Baumeister 
30 Standing Figure with Red field 

Stehende Figur tnit rotem Feld). 1933 
Oil with sand on canvas, yi 7 /s x i6% 6 " 
(81 x 65 cm.) 

Collection Archiv Baumeister, Stuttgart 




115 



KANDINSKY'S GRAPHIC WORKS 



Vasily Kandinsky 

31 Etching for Rene Char's "he Marteau 
sans maitre." 1934 
Drypoint on paper, 5 1 2 x ^Vn" 
(13.9x9.9 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




V 



*> • - 



& 



Rene Char 
32 Le Marteau sans maitre. Paris, Editions 
Surrealistes, 1934 

Inscribed by the author to Kandinsky 
Book, 7V2 x $\ 2 " (18.9 x 13.9 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



t33 Letter from Rene Char to Kandinsky. 
November 26, 1933 

Ink on paper, io's x S\' 4 " (27 x 21 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 






s* 



ct-e 
E MARTEAl' SANN MU'l'KE 



Il6 



54 letter from Rene Char to Kandinsky. 

December 12, 1933 

Ink on paper, 9'ssS 1 ] " (15 x 20.5 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Rene Char 
35 Migration, n.d. 

Poem, ink on paper, 9 3 4 x S" 

(24.8 x 20.3 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



C ^-** 






*MV' 






/C J)'C _?i 



, -j /•*_ t^-A. 



1 ' bttlTiil/- 









- 

£ ...» " -</ >v, ^ii Utt -IO_~c-» "^-i^!?,' 






- 









'• i^J> 




£^t, .&, ^c*^> «*^<*- t^Zfu* S* ■£* ?~-a~»/*._ 



^JL^Is^-i- 






ii7 



Vasily Kandinsky 

36 Etching for Tristan Tzara's "La Main 
passe." 1935 

Drypoint on paper, 6Yu, x 4%" 
(15.7 x iz cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




1 [8 



Vasily Kandinsky 
37 Study for ,i Woodcut | Etude pour unc 
gravure sur bois). ca. 1935 
Pencil on paper, SI 4 x ioYk" 
(20.9 x 26.9 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 

38 Woodblock for a Print (Bois pour line 
grjvure). ca. 1935 
Carved wood, 9 l /$ x io u /i 6 " 
(13.1 x 17.1 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



>*» r 



gftfflf- 



v> *v\ 



- = 



'I-': I 



'fl£s\ 






'f< i 






119 



Vasily Kandinsky 

39 Synthesis (Sintesi). 1935 

Silkscreen on paper, i9 3 /4 x 25%" 

(50 x 65.4 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 
40 Woodcut for "XXe Steele" (Gravure stir 
bois pour "XXe Steele"). 1939 
Color woodcut on paper, 9 5 /s xn 1 ?" 
(24.5 x 31.9 cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 





I20 



Transition. No. z~, April-May 1938 
Cover design by Vastly Kandinsky 
Screenprint on paper, 7 7 /g x 5V4" 
u x r.3.3 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vastly Kandinsky 
+1 Etching for Stephen Spender's "Fraternity" 
(Graiure pour "Fraternity" de Stephen 
Spender). 1939 

Drypoint on paper, 5 x },Y\(," 

(12.8 .\8.i cm.) 

Collection Musee National d*Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



Stephen Spender 

t43 Fraternity. Paris, Atelier 17, 1939 
Book, S'^it x 6 1 2" (il-4 x 16.5 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





III 



ABSTRACT ART-ART CONCRET 



Hans Arp 

44 Configuration. 1930 

Carved and painted wood, zj\ \ x 33V2" 
(69.9 x 85.1 cm.) 

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 
The A.E. Gallatin Collection 




mf 



J 



122 



Vastly Kandinsky 
45 Black Forms on White (Formes noires 
surblanc). April 1934 
(HL 600) 

Oil on canvas, 27' 2 x -"' :" (70 x 70 cm.) 
Collection Association-Fondation 
Christian et Yvonne Zervos, Vezelay 




123 



Ben Nicholson 
46 1936 (white relief). 1936 

Oil on carved board, 26V2 x 36V2" 
(67.5 x93 cm.) 

Collection Lillian H. Florsheim 
Foundation for Fine Arts 




1 2.4 



Vasily Kandinsky 
4- Division-Unity Division-Unite). 

October 1934 
(HL 606) 

Oil with sand on canvas, aS 1 s x 1S 1 s " 
71.5 x -1.5 cm.) 

Collection The Museum ot Modern 
Art, Seihu Takanau a 




125 



Vasily Kandinsky 

48 Accompanied Contrast (Contraste 
accompagne). March 1935 
(HL613) 

Oil with sand on canvas, 381/4 x 63 7 /s" 
(97.1 x 162. 1 cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift, Solomon 
R. Guggenheim, 1937 





iz6 



Hans Arp 
49 Objects Placed According to the Laws 

of Ch.iruc , ( >/>/<7> I'Litcs J'.ij'ws Ics lois 

du hasard). 1933 

Carved and painted wood, 11 1 '$ x it 1 2" 

(55 x70 cm.) 

Private Collection, Paris 




127 



Piet Mondrian 

50 Composition with Blue (Composition 
avec bleu). 1937 

Oil on canvas, 31 1 /} x 30%" (80 x 77 cm. 
Collection Haags Gemeentemuseum, 
The Hague, The Netherlands 



128 



DOMINANT CURVE 



Vasily Kandinsky 
51 Green Accent (Accent vert). 
November 1935 
(HL6 i3 ) 

Tempera and oil on canvas, 32 x 39 3 /8" 
(81. 1 x 100.2. cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift, Solomon R. 
Guggenheim, 1937 




129 



Josef Albers 

52 Heraldic. 1935 

Oil on aluminum, 16^4 x 16" 
(42.5x40.7 cm.) 
Collection Anni Albers and the 
Josef Albers Foundation 




130 



Vastly Kandinsky 
53 Broun with Supplement Brun supple- 
ment). March 1935 
(HL615) 

Oil on canvas, 31" s x 39 V (81 x 100 cm.) 
Collection Museum Boymans-van 
Beuningen, Rotterdam 




131 



Vasily Kandinsky 

54 Two Green Points (Deux Points verts). 
April 1935 
(HL 616) 

Oil with sand on canvas, 
44 7 / 8 x 6iWls" ("4 * J 6- cm-) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 





[32. 



Vasily Kandinsky 
55 Reunited Surfaces {Study for "Painting 
No. 616) Surfaces reunies [Projet pour 
toile no. 6i6j). August 1934 
(HL watercolors 535) 
Watercolor on paper, 1 1 V i < . x 16] /' 
(2.8.2 x 42. cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Xina Kandinsky 



■ 




133 



Vasily Kandinsky 
56 Line (Ligtie). November 1934 
(HL watercolors 537) 
Watercolor and India ink on paper 
mounted on paper, 21 x 8" 
(52.7 x 20.3 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




134 



Vastly Kandinsky 
57 Succession. April 1935 
(HL617) 

Oil on canvas, 32. x 39 1 /' (81 x 100 cm.) 
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. 







'i^^:& 








v « 




135 



Vasily Kandinsky 
58 Floating (Volant). June 1936 
(HL watercolors 566) 
Gouache and pencil on black paper, 
11 1 4 x 19 V (31x50.1cm.) 
Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum. New York 




136 



FREE FORM AND SURREALISM 



Joan Miro 
59 Drawing E?icloseit with .i Letter from 
Miro to Kandinsky. n.d. 

Pencil on paper, io"/i6 x %V\(>" 

(27.1 x 21 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 






4 






137 



Vasily Kandinsky 
60 Multiple Forms (Formes multiples). 
February 1936 
(HL 627) 

Oil on canvas, 38%,; x 5i 3 /s" 
(97 x130.5 cm.) 
Lent by Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne 




138 



Joan Miro 

61 The Ladder for Escape (L'Echelle de 
I'evasion). 1940 

Gouache, watercolor, brush and ink on 
paper, ii ! 4 x iS'- 4 " [40 x47.fi cm) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York, Bequest of Helen Acheson 




139 



Vasily Kandinsky 
62 Green Figure (Figure verte). 
HL618) 



March 1936 



Oil on canvas, 46 Vi x 3514" 
(117.5x89.3 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




140 



Pablo Picasso 
63 l, robot Woman (Femme acrobate). 

January 19, 1930 

Oil on plywood, 25 v i„ x '9 v u>" 

(64 x 49 cm.) 

Collection Marina Picasso 




141 



Hans Arp 
64 Composition. 1937 

Collage of torn paper with India ink 
and pencil on paper, 13V4 x n 1 2 " 
(33.6x19.3 cm.) 

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 
The A. E. Gallatin Collection 




I42 



Paul Klee 

65 How Everything Groit's (Was alles 
u/achst). iq;i 

W.uercolor on paper, i8 is ln x u 1 4" 
(47.9 x 31.5 cm.) 
Collection Kunstmuseum Bern, 
Paul Klee-Stiftung 




143 



COMPARTMENTALIZATION: 
PROBLEMS OF FORM AND 
CONSTRUCTION 



Vasily Kandinsky 
66 Study for "Fifteen" (Etude pour 
"Quinze"). 1938 
Sketchbook page, pencil on paper, 
1 '■,' 1( , x io'Vie" (33- 1 x z 7-i cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 

67 Fifteen (Ouinze). April 1938 
(HL watercolors 589) 
Tempera with gouache on black paper 
mounted on board, 13% x 19%" 
(34.5 x 50 cm.) 
Collection Kunstmuseum Bern 





144 



Vasily Kandinsky 
68 Thirty | Trettte). December 1936-January 
W7 

(HL 636) 

Oil on canvas, 31% \ $9%" (81 x 100 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Modeme, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina kandmskv 




145 



Frantisek Kupka 
69 Abstraction, ca. 1930 

Gouache on paper, 11 x io 5 /g" 

(28 x 27 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Frantisek Kupka 

71 Black and White Abstraction 

(Abstraction noir et blanc). ca. 1930 

Ink on paper, 11V4 x n Vi" 
(28.5 x 28.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Frantisek Kupka 
70 Abstraction, ca. 1930 

Gouache on paper, n x 11" (28 x 28 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Frantisek Kupka 
72 Black and White Abstraction 

(Abstraction noir et blanc). ca. 1930 
Gouache on paper, 11 x n" (28 x 28 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 









1 4^> 



Frantisek Kupka 
73 Black and White Abstraction 

Abstraction noir et blanc). c.\. mio 
Gouache on paper, tixu" (28 x 28 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Modcrne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Frantisek Kupka 

75 Black and White Abstraction 

(Abstraction noir et blanc). ca. 1930 
Gouache on paper, n x n" (18 x 28 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Frantisek Kupka 

74 Black and White Abstraction 

Abstraction noir et blanc). ca. 1930 
Gouache on paper, 11 x 11" (z8 x 2.8 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Frantisek Kupka 

76 Black and White Abstraction 

(Abstraction noir et blanc). ca. 1930 
Gouache on paper, 11 x 11" (28 x 28 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 







147 



Frantisek Kupka 

77 Black and White Abstraction 

(Abstraction noir et blanc). ca. 1930 
Gouache on paper, 11 x 11" (28 x 2.8 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Frantisek Kupka 

79 Black and White Abstraction 

(Abstraction noir et blanc). ca. 1930 
Gouache on paper, n x n" (18 x 28 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Frantisek Kupka 

78 Black and White Abstraction 

(Abstraction noir et blanc). ca. 1930 
Gouache on paper, n x n" (18 x 28 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Frantisek Kupka 

80 Black and White Abstraction 

(Abstraction noir et blanc). ca. 1930 
Gouache on paper, 11 x n" (28 x 28 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



H! 



I 





148 



Pablo Picasso 
i a-b The Dream and Lie of Franco (Songe ei 
mensonge ./<• Franco). 1937 

Etching and aquatint on paper, two parts, 
sight, each 14X i- |V i„" (35.5 x 4s. 5 cm.) 
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 



^ 



RN^ 








'X ^ 



149 



COEVAL SCULPTURE: 
UNBALANCED CURVES 



Hans Arp and Sophie Tacuber-Arp 
83 Landmark (Jalon). 1938 

Wood, 23% x 9% x i 4 yi 6 " 

(60 x 25 x 36 cm.) 

Collection Fondation Arp, Clamart 



Hans Arp 

82 Pagoda Fruit on Dish (Configuration) (Fruit 
de pagode sur coupe [Configuration]). 
1934 

Cast cement, fruit, 9 x i4?is x n" 
(23 x 37 x 28 cm.); dish, 5V2 x 15% x ii 3 /i" 
(14 x 40 x 29 cm.) 
Private Collection, Paris 





150 



Julio Gonzalez 
84 Head. The Snail (Tete. VEscargot). 
ca. 1935 

Wrought iron, 17% x 15V4" 
(45.1 x 38.7 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York. Purchase 



Alberto Giacometti 

85 Drawing for "The Palace at 4 A.M." 
(Dessin pour "Le Palais a quatre hemes 
dit matin"). 1931 
Pen and ink on paper, j 9 /\c x 9%6" 
(19.1x24.2 cm.) 
Collection Kupferstichkabinett, 
Kunstmuseum Basel, K. A. Burckhardt- 
Koechlin Bequest 





151 



RENEWAL OF KANDINSKY'S 
PLASTIC VOCABULARY AND 
COLOR, 1937-1938 



Vasily Kandinsky 
86 Accompanied Center (Milieu 
accompagne). May 1937 
(HL 641) 

Oil on canvas, ^/i x 57 1 , 1" 
(114 x 146 cm.) 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght 




[52 



\ asily Kandinsky 
87 Sttidx for "Accompanied Center" 

Etude pour "Milieu accompagne"). 1937 
Pencil on paper, d ; s x S^ s " 
(16.2 x 2,1.8 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 
88 Study for "Accompanied Center" 
[Etude et misc au c.irrcdit de "Milieu 
accompagne?'). 1937 
Pencil on paper, 9% 6 x i27 i6 " 
(23.9x31.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





153 



Vasily Kandinsky 
89 Capricious Forms (Formes capricieuses). 
July 1937 
(HL643) 

Oil on canvas, 35 x 45%" 
(88.9x116.3 cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 




!54 



\ asilj Kandinsky 
'90 Study for "Capricious Forms" (Etude 
pour"Fon cieuses"). 19" 

Skctchbook page, colored pencils on 
paper, io u i 6 x i3'i 6 " (17-1 x 33-i cm.) 
Collection Musee National d"Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




155 



Vasily Kandinsky 
91 Animated Stability (Stabilite animee). 
December 1937 
(HL 646) 

Mixed media on canvas, 45 3 /4 x 35" 

(116 x 89 cm.) 

Lent by Davlyn Gallery, New York 




156 



Vasily Kandinsky 
92 OrJercJ Arrangement Many-Colored 

Ensemble Ent.issement regie Ensemble 

multieolorej). February-April 193S 

(HL 650) 

Oil and enamel on canvas, 4 > ; ' 1 \ 35' 1 .." 

(116 x 89 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 




15: 



Vasily Kandinsky 
93 Penetrating Green (Le Vert penetrant). 
April 1938 
(HL651) 

Oil on canvas, 29 1 2 x 49V4" 
(75 x 125. 1 cm.) 

Collection The Baltimore Museum of Art, 
Bequest of Saidie A. May 




158 



Yasily kandinsky 
94 Yellow Painting Lj Toile jjiine). 
July 193S 

HL655) 
Oil and enamel on canvas, 45" s x 35" 

1i6.4xSS.Scm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 



Vasily Kandinsky 
*95 Study for "Yellow Painting" (Etude pour 
"L.i Toile jaune"). 1938 
Sketchbook page, India ink and water- 
color on paper, 13 x 10%" (33 x 27 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





159 



IV. PHOTOGRAPHS OF KANDINSKY 



Man Ray 

96 Portrait of K.itiJiusky. ca. 1934 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d"Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




160 



Florence Henri 
97 Portrait of Kandinsky. i<m 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




161 



Lipnitzki 
98 Kandinsky in His Studio in Neuilly-snr- 
Seine. ca. 1937 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




"•■7 



162 



Lipnitzki 

99 Kandinsky in His StttJio in Neuilly-sur- 

v ca. 195- 

Photograph 

Collection Muscc National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 




163 



Lipnitzki 
ioo Kandinsky in His Studio in Neuilly-sur- 
Seine. ca. 1937 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




164 



Joseph Breitenbach 
101 Portrait of Kandinsky. Paris, 193S 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Hannes Bcckmann 
102 Portrait of Kandinsky. ca. 1938 
Photograph 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





165 



V. KANDINSKY'S PAINTING DURING THE 
WAR, 1939-1944 



BLACK BACKGROUNDS 

Joan Miro 

103 Forms on a Black Background (Formes 
stir fond noir). 1933 
Oil on canvas, 41V8 x 2.9 5 /is" 
(104.5 x 74-5 cm-) 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght 







Paul Klee 
104 Untitled | Still Life) (Ohne Titel (Stilkben]). 
1940 

Oil on canvas, 39" 8 x 3 t%" 

(100 x S0.5 cm.) 

Private Collection, Switzerland 




167 



Vasily Kandinsky 
105 Composition X. December 193S- 
January 1939 
(HL655) 

Oil on canvas, 5i%6 x 76%" 
(130 x 195 cm.) 

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 
Diisseldorf 




c68 



Henri Michaux 
106 Print ■(■ o/ the Night | Le Prime ,/(■ /.; ««itj. 

io ;- 

Gouache on paper, n ! 4 x o\ s " 

(32.3 x 14.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 




169 



Vasily Kandinsky 

107 Points (Pointes). May 1939 
(HL vvatercolors 624) 
Gouache and watercolor on black paper 
mounted on paper, 19 1 2 x i3 5 /s" 
(49-5 x 34-5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




I-O 



Vasily Kandinsky 

10S Untitled (Sans titre). 1940 
(HL watercolors 639) 
Gouache on black paper, 19% \ ii'/' 
(49.8 x 35 cm.) 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Hi 
Rebav Collection 




171 



Vasily Kandinsky 
109 Untitled (Sans titrej. 1940 
(HL watercolors 689) 

Gouache on paper, 19V2 x I2 %6" 

(49.5 x31cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 




172. 



KANDINSKY'S LAST 
LARGE PAINTINGS 



Vasily Kandinsky 
no Toward Blue (Vers le bleu). 
February 1939 
(HL656) 

Oil and enamel on canvas, 2.5% x 31%" 
(65 x 81 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




173 



Vasily Kandinsky 
in Study for "Toward Blue" (Etude pour 
"Vers le bleu"). 1939 
Pencil and grease pencil on paper, 8 Vie x 
n 1 2" (-0.4 x 29.3 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 
112 Study for "Toward Blue" (Etude pour 
"Vers le bleu"). 1939 
Watercolor and India ink on cardboard, 
io}4 x 15V4" (-7-2- x 38.6 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





1-4 



Vasily Kandinsky 
113 Untitled Sans titre). 1940 
(HL watercolors 656) 
\\ .uercolor on white paper mounted on 
cardboard, i^At x izYu" (48.7 x 31.2 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinskv 




175 



Vasily Kandinsky 
114 Circuit. June 1939 
(HL663) 

Oil on canvas, 36y 8 x 2.8 7 / g " (93 x 73 cm. 
Private Collection 



Vasily Kandinsky 

Study for "Circuit" (Etude pour 

"Circuit"). 1939 

Pencil on paper, 85/ 8 x 6V4" (21.9 x 16 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 




1-6 



Vasily kandinsky 
1 16 Sky Blue I Bleu Je ciel). March 1940 
(HL673 

Oil on canvas, ?«"' s x 18 '4" (100x73 cm -) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of. Mme Nina Kandinskv 




177 



Vastly Kandinsky 
117 The Whole (V Ensemble). January- 
February 1940 
(HL 671) 

Oil on canvas, 31% x 45 5 /&" (81 x 116 cm.) 
Collection Lawrence D. Saidenberg, 
New York 




,-N 




Yasily Kandinsky 
118 Various Tarts (Parties diierses). 
February 1940 
(HL 672) 

Oil on canvas, 35 x 45 11 W (89 x 116 cm.) 
Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, 
Munich, Extended loan of the Gabriele 
Miinter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, 
Munich 



Vastly Kandinsky 
119 Study for "Various Parts" (Etude pour 
"Parties diierses"). 1940 
India ink on paper, 6% x 9 Vis" 
(17.8 x 2.3 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




179 



Vasily Kandinsky 

120 Around the Circle (Autour du cerde). 
May-August 1940 
(HL 677) 

Oil on enamel on canvas, 38V8 x 57V2" 
(96.8 x 146 cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 




180 



Vastly Kandinsky 
121 Study for "Around the Circle" Etude pour 
"Autour ducercle"). ca. 1940 

Pencil on paper, 6 S ' 1( , x & u /i 6 " 

(16.1 x 12. cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 

122 Study for "Around the Circle" (Etude pour 
"Autour du cercle"). 1940 
India ink on paper, 9% x i2 3 /g" 
(23.8x31.4 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





ISI 



Vasily Kandinsky 
123 Various Actions (Actions variees). 
August-September 1941 

(HL683) 

Oil and enamel on canvas, 35V8 x 45%" 

(89. zx 116. 1 cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 




182 



Vastly Kandinsky 
24 Study for "Various Actions" (Etude pour 
"Action* variees"). 1940-41 
Pencil on paper, SY Ut x io'/n," 
(20.S x 15.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 
125 Study for "Various Actions" (Etude pour 
"Actions variees"). 1940-41 
Pencil on paper, S' 4 x 10%" 
(2.0.9 x -6-9 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 







aQ 



<S 



• ' 







I 



■ 
■ 




I83 



Vasily Kandinsky 

126 Balancing (Balancement). January 1942 
(HL686) 

Oil on canvas, 35V16 x 46V16" 

(89 x 117 cm.) 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght 




i 84 



Vasily Kandinsky 

127 Reciprocal Accord Accord reciproque). 
January-February 1942. 

(HL687 

Oil and enamel on canvas, 44" 8 x 57I _." 

(114 x 146 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 




185 



Vasily Kandinsky 
128 Study for "Reciprocal Accord" (Etude 
pour "Accord reciproque"). 1942 
India ink on paper, 8;' 16 x 10V4" 
(20.8 x 16.1 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 
129 Study for "Reciprocal Accord" (Etude 
pour "Accord reciproque"). 1942 
India ink on paper, SYi b x io 5 /g" 
(20.8 x 27 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





c86 



Vasily Kandinsky 
130 Delicate Tensions ( Tensions delicates). 
June-July [942 
(HL 690) 

Oil on canvas, 31" s \ ?9 V 
(81 x loocm.) 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adrien iMaeght 




187 



SMALL FORMATS 



Joan Miro 
131 Awakening at Dawn (Le Reveil au 
petit jour). January 27, 1941 
Gouache on paper, 18 x 15" 
(45.7x38.1 cm.) 
The Colin Collection, New York 




188 



Hans Arp 
132 Crumpled Paper (Runic Signs) (Papier 
froisse [Signcs rumquesj). 1941-41 
Ink on paper, 14 ; 4 x 1 S" 8 " (63 x 48 cm.) 
Collection Alberto and Susi Magnelli 




189 



Hans Reichel 
133 a-1 Sketchbook from Gurs (Cahier de Gurs). 
1941-42. 

Notebook of 12. pages with 24 water- 
colors on paper, i6i/ 8 x n l Vi6" 
(41 x 30 cm.) 

Collection Madame Schimek-Reichel, 
Paris 







190 




i9i 



Alberto Magnelli 

134 Untitled (Sans litre). 1942 
Gouache on paper, 10% x 8V4" 
(27 x 2.1 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




192 



Alberto Magnelli 
135 Student's Slatt Ardoise d'ecolier). 1937 

Gouache on slate, 5 7 s x 9 1 i ." 

(14.9 x13 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 
136 Sketch for a Textile Esquisse pour 
mi tisiu). 1943 
Gouache on paper, 13 1 2 x 13" 

; 4 4 \ 33cm.) 
Lent by Galerie Beyeler, Basel 





D 





1 



O o 








193 



Vasily Kandinsky 
137 Study for a Textile Design [Etude pour 
V impression des etoffes). ca. 1944 
Watercolor and ink on brown paper, 
4 i% 6 x 18V2" (105.5 x 47 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




194 



Yasily Kandinsky 

138 Study for a Textile Design [ Etude pour 
I'impression dcs ctoffes). ca. 1944 
W'atercolor and ink on brown paper, 
39 3 s x 14 1 " ioox rem.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




195 



SMALL PAINTINGS BY 
KANDINSKY, 1942-1944 



Vasily Kandinsky 

139 A fluttering Figure {Vne Figure flottante). 
July 1941 
(HL 691) 

Oil on mahogany, io 1 4 x 7%" 
(26 x 10 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




196 



Vastly Kandinsky 
140 Vertical Accents Accents verticaux). 

July 1942 
(HL 691) 

Oil on wood panel, n 5 s x 16' 2" 
(32.1 .\41cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum. New York 







197 



Vasily Kandinsky 
141 Three Between Tico (Trois entre deux). 
October 1942. 
;HL696) 

Oil on board, 19V4 x 19V4" (49 x 49 cm.) 
Collection Arnold A. Saltzman, New York 




[98 



Vastly Kandinsky 

142 Joyful Theme (Theme joyeux). October 
194- 
(HL697) 

Oil on paperbo.ird, 19*/$ x 19V4" 
(48.7 x 48.9 cm.) 

Private Collection 




199 



Vasily Kandinsky 

143 Three Oi -lis iTrois Ovales). October 
1941 
(HL 698) 

Oil and tempera on cardboard, 
ig 1 ^ x 19V (49 x49 cm.) 
Lent by Davlyn Gallery, New York 




200 



Vasily Kandinsky 
144 An Intimate Celebration \ Une Fete 
iiithne). December 1941 
(HL701) 

Oil and tempera on cardboard, 
io' s \ u>",,," (49.1x49.6 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




201 



Vasily Kandinsky 
145 Netting (he Filet). December 1942 
(HL 703) 

Tempera on cardboard, 
i6i/ 2 x22y 8 "(42-X58cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




202 



Yasily Kandinsky 

146 D.irk Center Lc Milieu sombre). 
January 1943 

(HL- 4 

Oil on cardboard, 16 1 j x n ! -i" 
41 x 57.8 cm.) 

Lent bv Galcrie Beveler, Basel 




2.03 



Vasily Kandinsky 
147 White Figure (La Figure blanche). 
January 1943 

(HL705) 

Oil on board, n'/g * 16 1 1" 

(57-3X4i- 8cm -) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 




104 



YjmIv Kandinskv 

148 Light Ascent Ascension legere). 
December 1942-January 144; 
(HL 706) 

Oil on paperhoard, 21 1 4 x 16 1 >" 
(S8 x 42 cm.) 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght 




205 



Vasily Kandinsky 
149 Fanlike (En event ail). February 1943 
(HL707) 

Tempera and oil on board, 22% x 16%" 
(58 x42 cm.) 
Latner Family Collection 




206 



Vasily Kandinsky 
150 Simplicity (SimplicHe). February 194'-, 
(HL 708) 

Tempera and oil on cardboard, 
--"s x 17%" (57-7 x 41 -5 cm-) 
Collection Kunstmuseum Bern 




iz- 



Vasily Kandinsky 

151 Around the Line (Autour de la ligne). 
February 1945 
(HL710) 

Oil on cardboard, 16 1 _> \ n 7 g" 
(42.x 58 cm.) 

Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, 
Lugano, Switzerland 




L08 



Vastly Kandinsky 
i$z The Arrow (La Fleche). February C943 

(HL-11) 

Oil on papexboard, 16} 2 x i-'\„" 

(41 x 5S cm.) 

Offentliche Kunstsammlung, 

Kunstmuseum Basel 




209 



Vasily Kandinsky 

153 The Zigzag (Le Zigzag). March 1943 
(HL712 

Oil on cardboard, 16 1 \ x 22.%" 
(41 x 58 cm.) 
Private Collection 




2IO 



Vasily Kandinsky 
154 Seven Sept'. March 194; 

(HL714) 

Oil on cardboard, nift« x 16V2" 

(58 x 41 cm.) 

Collection Max Bill, Zurich 




211 



Vasily Kandinsky 

155 Brown Impetus (L'Elan brim). April 1943 
(HL715) 

Oil on wood, 16V2 x ii'Ms" U 2 - x 58 cm.) 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght 




111 



Vasily Kandinsky 
156 Circle and Square (Cercle et carte). 
April 194; 
(HL716) 

Oil and tempera on cardboard, 
i6' 2 xii';i u " (41 x 58 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




-13 



Vasily Kandinsky 
157 Fragments. May 1943 
(HL718) 

Oil and gouache on board, 16 1 2 x 12,%" 
(41.9 x 57.7 cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 




114 



Vastly Kandinsky 
158 Twilight (Crepuscule). June 1943 

HI -: 

Oil on board. n ; j \ ib : • " 
(41.8 x 5 - .6 cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 




"5 



Vasily Kandinsky 
159 Red Accent (V Accent rouge). June 1943 
HL712) 

Oil on board mounted on panel, 
16! 2 x 22.%" (41.8 x 57.9 cm.) 
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
Hilla Rebay Collection 





216 



Vastly Kandinsky 
160 The Red Point 1 .1 Pointe rouge). 
July 104; 

(HL724) 

Oil on paperboard, 16 1 2 x 21 1 '1." 

42 \ nS cm.] 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeeht 




217 



Vasily Kandinsky 
161 A Conglomerate (Un Conglomerat). 
October 1943 
(HL 728) 

Gouache and oil on cardboard, 
2£>%« x 16 1 2 " (5 8 x 4 1 cm -) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 
162 Disquiet (Inquietude). November- 
December 1943 
(HL 730) 

Oil on cardboard, 16 1 2 x ^Yis" 
(42 x 58 cm.) 
Private Collection 



Vasily Kandinsky 
163 Ribbon with Squares (Ruban aux carres). 
January 1944 

(HL731) 

Gouache and oil on board, 

16 1 2 x zz 3 ^" (42 x 57.8 cm.) 

Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 




ilS 





219 



Vasily Kandinsky 
164 Isolation. January 1944 
(HL733) 

Gouache on cardboard, i6\ A x 2.2. li /\b" 
(42 x 58 cm.) 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght 




220 



Vasily Kandinsky 
165 The Little Red Circle (Le Petit Ron J 
rouge). January 1944 

(HL734] 

Gouache and oil on cardboard, 

16 1 : x ii'^,." (42 x58 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



tvi 




Vasily Kandinsky 
166 Three Black Bands (Trois Bandes noires). 
February 1944 

(HL736) 

Oil on paperboard, i8Vi 6 x z.\\\" 

(46 x 54 cm.) 

Private Collection 




L22. 



Vastly Kandinsky 
167 The Green BjtiJ (Le Lien vert). 
February 1944 

(HL737) 

Oil on cardboard, 18% x 11 1/4" 

(46 x 54 cm.) 

Private Collection, Milan 




2.23 





124 



Vastly Kandinsky 
168 Tempered Elan \ L'Elan tempiri). 
March 1944 
(HL738) 

Oil on cardboard, 16' \ x il 1 ^" 

(41 x 58 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



Vastly Kandinsky 
169 Study for "Tempered Elan" (Etude pour 
"L'Elan tempere"). 1944 
Pencil on paper, 7^4 x nM<s" 
(19.5 x 18.4 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 
170 Study for an Unexecuted Work (Etude 
pour tin tableau inacheve). 1944 
India ink on paper, 7% x iiYm," 
(19.4 x 28.4 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




Vasily Kandinsky 
171 Study on a Drawing Board (Etude sur 
une planche a dessin). 1944 
W'atercolor, India ink and pencil 
on paper mounted on board, 
sheet, 11% x iS'/g" (30.2 x 46 cm.); 
board, i7 15 /i 6 x 24 13 /i 6 x i 7 / 8 " 
(45.5 x 63 x 4.8 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




2-2-5 



VI. KANDINSKYAND THE PARISIAN 
MILIEU IN THE 1930s 




THE PAINTING OF 
HENRI ROUSSEAU 



Henri Rousseau 

172 The Poultry Yard (La Basse-Cour). 
1896-98 

Oil on canvas, 9 n /i6 x 13" (24.6 x 32.9 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Henri Rousseau 

173 The Painter and His Model (Le Peintre et 
son modele). 1900-05 
Oil on canvas, 18%,; x zi 7 /s" 
(46.5 x 55.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 

174 Sketch and Passage from a Letter 

Concerning the Possible Sale of a Painting 

by the Douanier Rousseau, ca. 1943 

Pencil on paper, 4% x sYk" 

(12.2 x 13.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 



2.2.6 







*/ 



■ 









-c 












227 



CONTACTS WITH OTHER 
ARTISTS 



175 14 Essais de Jakovski. Editions 
G. Orobitz et Cie, Paris, 193 5 
Book with 23 etchings by Hans Arp, Alex- 
ander Calder, Giorgio de Chirico, Hans 
Erni, Max Ernst, Louis Fernandez, Alberto 
Giacometti, Nicolas Ghika, Julio Gon- 
zalez, Jean Helion, Vasily Kandinsky, 
Fernand Leger, Jacques Lipchitz, Alberto 
Magnelli, Joan Miro, Ben Nicholson, 
Amedee Ozenfant, Pablo Picasso, Kurt 
Seligmann, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Joaquin 
Torres-Garcia, Gerard Vulliamy, Ossip 
Zadkine 

Etchings on paper, each 13% x io 5 /g" 
(34 x 27 crn.) 

a. Collection Fondation Arp, Clamart 

b. Collection Kupferstichkabinett, 
Kunstmuseum Basel 



Vasily Kandinsky 
176 Preparatory Drawing for Etching for 
"24 Essais de ]akoi ski" 1 Etude pour 
gravure pour "24 Essais de Jakovski"). 
1934 

India ink and pencil on paper, 
io' 2 x S 1 s " (26.6 x 20.7 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





Etching by Giacometti 






Kathcrine S. Dreier 
177 Untitled. 1934 

Watercolor and lithograph on paper, 
1 1 ; s x 15 l Y u ," (2.8.9 x 40.4 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




229 



Otto Freundlich 
178 Composition. December 1935 
Gouache on paper, 65 x 55 '. g" 
(165 x 140 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 




230 



Antoine Pevsner 
179 Construction. 1932. 

Bronze and plastic, n* g \ 16 1 B x s3 -i" 
(57.4 x 66 x 2.2.2. cm.) 
Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 




231 



Antoine Pevsner 

180 Construction for an Airport. 1934-35 
Bronze and plastic, 32V4 x 28V4 x 3i n /i6 
(82X72X 83 cm.) 

Collection Museum Moderner Kunst, 
Vienna 




232. 



Fernand Leger 
181 The Transport of Forces ( Le Transport 
des forces). 1937 

Gouache on paper, i9"s * 4 1 s i- " 
{50.5 x 105 cm.) 

Collection Musee National Fernand 
Leger, Biot 




233 



Robert Delaunay 

182 Design for the Mural "Propeller and 
Rhythm," from the Palais de I' Air, Inter- 
national Exhibition, 1937 (Projet pour le 
panneau du Palais de I' Air "Helice et 
rythme," Exposition Internationale, 1937). 

1937 

Watercolor on paper mounted on canvas, 

28y 8 X3zHV(7ix83cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 




2-34 



Sonia Dclaunay 

183 Colored Rhythm l Rvthmc colore). 
Gouache on paper, ij *i,, \ 20 1 $" 
(64 x 5 1 cm.) 
Collection Megatrends. Limited 



194- 




2 35 



Georges Vantongerloo 
184 Extended, Green Curves (Etendtie, 
courbes vertes). 1938 
Oil on Masonite, 31 1 2 x -5 ! 2" 
(80 x 64.5 cm.) 
Collection Max Bill, Zurich 







Josef Albers 
185 Prismatic II. 1936 
Oil on Masonite, 18* j \ 

4-.; \ 50.5 cm.) 

Collection Anni Albers and the Josef 
Albers Foundation 




237 



Alberto Magnelli 
186 Bouncing Forms (Formes rebondissantes). 
1937 

Oil on canvas, 39 3 / 8 x 49 Vs" 
(100 x 125 cm.) 
Collection Musee de Vallauris, France 




238 



Sophie Tacubcr-Arp 
187 Lines of Summer (Lignes d'ete). 194Z 
Pastel on paper, 19 1 g x 14*' 4" 
48. J \ •,-.> cm.) 

Collection Emanuel Hoffmann-Founda- 
tion, Kunstmuseum Basel 




^39 



Paule Vezelay 
188 Composition. 1934 

Oil on canvas, z$Yu, x i}Yg" (72 x 34 cm.) 
Collection Association-Fondation 
Christian et Yvonne Zervos, Vezelay 




240 



Cesar Domela 
189 Relief So. 1 \G. 1942. 

Plexiglass, ebony, brass and copper on 
wood, 31 1 1 , x 15I s x i's" 1-9x64x3 cm.) 
Collection Domela 




MI 



Jean Helion 
190 Composition. 1934 

Oil on canvas, 51V2 x 63%" 

(130. S x 162 cm.) 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine, 

Meriden, Connecticut 




242. 



Max Bill 
191 Construction in Brass (Construction en 
Liiton). 1939 

Brass, 55 1 s x 14V& x i^V's" 

(140 x 36 x 36 cm.) 

Private Collection, Zumikon 




M3 



f 192 a-j io Origin. Max Bill, ed., Allianz Verlag, 
Ziirich, 1942 

Portfolio with 10 etchings by Georges Van- 
tongerloo, Alberto Magnelli, Leo Leuppi, 
Max Bill, Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, 
Richard P. Lohse, Sonia Delaunay, Cesar 
Domela, Vasily Kandinsky 
Etchings on paper, each io 1 }'^ x %\' 2 " 
(27.5 x 21.5 cm.) 
Collection Domela 



Alberto Magnelli 

194 Untitled (Sans titre). 1942 
Etching on paper, 10% x 8 l / 4 " 
(27.3 x 21 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Pans 



Vasily Kandinsky 
193 Proof for Woodcut for "10 Origin" 
(Epreuve pour gravure sur bois pour 
"10 Origin"). May 16, 1942. 
Woodcut on paper, 8l/ 4 x 6 5 / 8 " 
(21 x 16.8 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





2.44 



Maria-Helena Yieira da Silva 
195 The Card Game Le Jem de cartes). 1937 
Oil on canvas, iS\ s \ \t> ] 4" -3 x91cm.) 
Lent by Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris 










M5 



Ejler Bille 
196 Animals in Various Rooms. 1937 

Oil on canvas, 28% x 2.1I4" (73 x 54 cm.) 
Collection Esbjerg Kunstforening, 
Esbjerg, Denmark 




246 



Richard Mortensen 
197 Portr.iit of a Thistle. 1938 

Oil on canvas, 59 x 43 1 4 " (150 x no cm.) 
Collection Statens Museum for Kunst, 
Copenhagen 




-4" 



Richard Mortensen 

; Untitled. January 27, 1939 
India ink on paper, 10V4 x i^Vfe" 
(25.9 x 35.9 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




24S 



Nicolas de Stael 
199 Composition. 1944 

Oil on canvas, 41% x 17V16" (105 x 69 cm.) 
Private Collection 




249 



DOCUMENTS 



200 Letter from Kandinsky to Will Grohmann. 208 Letter from Hilla Rebay to Kandinsky. 



December 4, 1933 

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Archiv Wi! 

Grohmann 



201 Letter from Kandinsky to Will Grohmann. 
January 7, 1934 

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Archiv Will 
Grohmann 



December 9, 1936 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

209 Letter from Kandinsky to Hilla Rebay. 
December 16, 1936 
The Hilla von Rebay Foundation Archive 



202 Letter from Solomon R. Guggenheim to 
Kandinsky. February 7, 1934 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



210 Letter from Andre Dezarrois to Kandinsky. 
April 5, 1937 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



203 Letter from Anni Albers to Kandinsky. 2II Letter f rom Marguerite Guggenheim to 
February 9, 1935 Kandinsky. February 15, 1938 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Pans, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest Kandinsky Bequest 

204 Postcard from Viet Mondrian to M Utter frQm Kjndlniky !o Kathenne S . 
Kandmsky. April 25, 1935 Dreier . August 5, I93 8 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, Collection American Literature, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Pans, The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript 

Kandinsky Bequest Ljb Ya , £ University 



205 Letter from Kandinsky to Katherine S. 
Dreier. June 12, 1935 
Collection American Literature, 
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript 
Library, Yale University 



213 Letter from Paul Klee to Kandinsky. 
December 30, 1939 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



206 Letter from Joan Miro to Kandinsky. 
July 12,1935 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

207 Postcard from Hans Arp to Kandinsky. 
September 18, 1936 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



214 / titer from Varian Fry of the Centre 
Anni nam de Secours to Kandinsky. 
May 7, 1 94 1 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



15 Postcard from Kandinsky to lla>is Arp. 
July 28, [942 

Collection Fondation Arp, Clamart 



250 



216 Letter from Alberto Magnelli to 
Kandinsky. January 22, 1944 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Yasily Kandinsky 

"Tilegnelse af Kunst" ["Assimilation of 
Art"], Linien, Copenhagen, 1937 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



117 Letter from Kandinsky to Alberto 
Magnelli. January 28, 1944 
Collection Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris 



118 Letter from Filippo Tommaso Marinetti 
to Kandinsky. n.d. 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



119 Kandinsky, exhibition catalogue, Galleria 
del Milione, Milan, April 24-May 9, 1934 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vastly Kandinsky 

220 Manuscript for "Line and Fish." March 
1935 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

221 Kandinsky, exhibition catalogue, Galerie 
des "Cahiers d'Art," Paris, June 21- 
September 10, 1935 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



243-d Kandinskx's Naturalization Documents. 
1938 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



225 Wassily Kandinsky, exhibition catalogue, 
Guggenheim Jeune, London, February 18- 
March 18, 1939 
The Blue Rider Research Trust 



Yasily Kandinsky 
226 Manuscript for "Stabilite animee." 
March 1938 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



227 Etapes de I'oeuvre de Wassily Kandinsky, 
exhibition catalogue, Galerie l'Esquisse, 
Paris, November 7-December 7, 1944 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



222 Kandinsky: toiles recentes, aquarelles, 
graphiques de 1910-193/, exhibition 
catalogue, Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, 
December 3-19, 1936 
The Blue Rider Research Trust 



2-51 



CHRONOLOGY 



By Vivian Endicott Barnett with Christian 
Derouet, Susan B. Hirschfeld, Lewis 
Kachur, Clark V. Poling, Jane Sharp and 
Susan Alyson Stein. 

The following is a modified version of the 
chronology in Kandinsky at the Guggen- 
heim, New York, 1983. 



1866 

December 4. Vasilii Vasilievich Kandinsky 
born in Moscow to Vasilii, a tea merchant, 
and Lidia Tikheeva Kandinsky. 

1871 

Family moves to Odessa. Parents are 

divorced. 

1876 

Attends Gymnasium where he learns to 
play piano and cello. First of yearly trips, 
made until 1885, to Moscow with father. 

1886 

Studies economics and law at University 
of Moscow. 

1889 

May 28-June 30. Makes expedition to 
Vologda province sponsored by Society of 
Natural Science and Anthropology. Subse- 
quently publishes two articles on tribal 
religious beliefs and peasant law. 
Travels to Paris. 

1892 

Completes university studies and passes 
law examination. Marries cousin Ania 
Shemiakina. 
Second trip to Paris. 

1893 

Writes dissertation "On the Legality of 
Laborer's Wages." Appointed teaching 
assistant at Faculty of Law, University of 
Moscow. 

1895 

Becomes artistic director of Kusnerev 
printing firm in Moscow. Designs covers 
for chocolate boxes. 

1896 

Sees a Haystack by Monet at French In- 
dustrial and Art Exhibition in Moscow. 
Declines lectureship at University of 
Dorpat; instead moves to Munich to 
study painting and soon enrolls in art 
school of Anton Azbe. 



1897 

Meets Alexej Jawlensky and Marianne 
von Werefkin as well as other Russian art- 
ists Igor Grabar and Dmitrii Kardovsky, 
who spend time in Munich and study with 
Azbe. 

1898-99 

Fails entrance examination to Munich 
Academy; works independently. 

1900 

Student of Franz von Stuck at Academy in 

Munich. 

Participates in Moskovskoe tovarishche- 

stvo khudozhnikov (Moscow Association 

of Artists) annual; shows with them yearly 

until 1908. 

1901 

April. His first art review, "Kritika kriti- 
kov" ("Critique of Critics"), published in 
Novosti dnia (News of the Day), Moscow. 
May. Cofounds Phalanx exhibition society; 
becomes its president later this year. 
August 15-November. First Phalanx exhi- 
bition. Eleven more are held until 1904. 
Fall. Participates in Exhibition of the 
Association of South Russian Artists, 
Odessa. 

Trip to Odessa. 

Phalanx art school established; Kandinsky 
teaches drawing and painting there. 

1902 

Meets Gabriele Munter, a student in his 

painting class. 

Reviews contemporary art scene in 

Munich, "Korrespondentsiia iz Miunk- 

hena" ("Correspondence from Munich"), 

for periodical Mir lskusstva (World of 

Art), St. Petersburg. 

Participates in Mir lskusstva exhibition, 

St. Petersburg. 

Spring. Participates in VI Berlin 

Secession. 

Meets David Burliuk. 



252 



1903 

Spring. Stops teaching; Ph.il.nix school 
closes. 

Late August. Peter Behrens offers Kan- 
dinsky position teaching decorative 
painting at Diisseldorf Kunstgewer- 
beschule (School of Arts and Crafts). By 
September declines offer. 
Meets Vladimir Izdebsky in Munich. 

1 90 a 

April. Works on theory of colors. 
Summer. Participates in Munich Kunst- 
verein exhibition. 

Makes craft designs for Vereinigung fur 
angeicandte Kunst /Society for Applied 
Art), Munich. 

June. Participates in inaugural exhibition 
of Les Tendances Nouvelles, Paris: begin- 
ning of association with this group. 
September. Separates from wife. 
Fall. Participates in Salon d'Automne, 
Paris; exhibits there yearly until 1910. 
December. Last Phalanx exhibition: by 
year's end association dissolves. Kandin- 
sky's Stikbi bez slov 'Poems without 
Words), woodcuts, published by Stroga- 
nov, Moscow. 

Participates in first exhibition of New 
Society of Artists, St. Petersburg, and 
XV Exhibition of the Association of South 
Russian Artists. Odessa; shows with latter 
five times, until 1909. 
Receives medal at Exposition Interna- 
tionale de Paris. 

1905 

Joins Deutscher Kiinstlerbund. 

Awarded medal by XUe Exposition du 

Travail, Paris. 

Elected to jury of Salon d'Automne, Paris. 

1906 

Spring. Participates in XI Berlin Secession. 
May 22. Arrives in Paris with Munter. 
Lives at 12, rue des Ursulines, Paris. At 
end of June moves to 4, petite rue des Bi- 
nelles, Sevres, where he and Miinter live 
for one year. 

Joins Union Internationale des Beaux-Arts 
et des Lettres, Paris, the organization that 
sponsored Les Tendances Nouvelles and 
its exhibitions. 

Summer. Participates in Ausstellung des 
Deutschen Kiinstlerbund, \Yeim3r. 
July. Participates in Exhibition of Signs 
and Posters organized by Leonardo da 
Vinci Society, Moscow. 
October-November. Participates in 
Galerie Wertheim exhibition, Berlin. 



December. Participates in XII Berlin 
Secession. 

1906-0- 

Winter. Participates in Briicke exhibition, 

Dresden. 

1907 

Spring. Participates in Salon des Inde- 

pendants, Paris; exhibits there until 1912. 

May. Shows 109 works in Le Musee du 

Peuple exhibition, Angers, sponsored by 

Les Tendances Nouvelles. 

Mid-June. Returns to Munich. 

Begins Kliinge woodcuts. 

September i9o - -April 190S. Lives with 

Munter in Berlin. 

December. Participates in XIV Berlin 

Secession. 

1908 

Mid-August-September. First sojourn 
in Murnau; spends summer with Munter, 
Jawlensky and Werefkin at Griesbrau Inn. 
Meets Thomas de Hartmann; begins 
collaborative work with him. 

1908-09 

Winter. Participates in Sergei Makovsky's 

Salon, St. Petersburg. 

1909 

January. Cofounds Neue Kiinstlervereini- 
gung Miinchen (NKVM) (New Artists' 
Society of Munich) and is elected its 
president. 

Spring. Begins writing abstract stage 
compositions Der gelbe Klang, Griiner 
Klang and Schwarz und Weiss 'The Yel- 
low Sound, Green Sound and Black and 
White). 

Summer. His Zylographies, woodcuts, 
published by Les Tendances Nouvelles in 
Paris. 

July. Participates in Allied Artists' Associ- 
ation annual, Royal Albert Hall, London; 
shows with them until 1913. 
July-August. Munter acquires house in 
Murnau; she and Kandinsky often stay 
here until outbreak of World War I. 
First Hinterglasmalereien (glass paint- 
ings). 

First Improvisations. 

October. Becomes Munich correspondent 
for journal Apollon (Apollo), St. Peters- 
burg; writes reviews, "Pismo iz Miunk- 
hena" ("Letters from Munich"), for one 
year. 

December 1-15. First NKVM exhibition, 
Heinnch Thannhauser's Moderne Galerie, 
Munich. 



December 17, 1909-February 6, 1910. 

Participates in Izdebsky's first Interna- 
tional Salon. Odessa, which travels to 
Kiev. St. Petersburg and Riga during 1910. 
Begins Klange prose poems. 

1910 

January. Paints first Compositions. 
September 1-14. Second NKVM exhibi- 
tion at Thannhauser's Moderne Galerie, 
Munich. 

October-December. Visits Weimar and 
Berlin en route to Russia. Spends time in 
St. Petersburg, Moscow and Odessa. In 
contact with older avant-garde artists 
Izdebsky, Nikolai Kul'bin and Vladimir 
Markov. 

December. Participates in Bubnovnyi 
valet 'lack of Diamonds) exhibition, 
Moscow. Shows fifty-four works at Iz- 
debsky's second International Salon, 
Odessa. Catalogue includes Kandinsky's 
essay "Soderzhanie i forma" ("Content and 
Form"). Returns to Munich at end of year. 
Completes manuscript of Uber das Geistige 
in der Kunst (On the Spiritual in Art). 

1911 

January 2. Hears Arnold Schonberg's 

music for the first time; he soon initiates 

correspondence with the composer. 

January 10. Resigns NKVM presidency. 

February 9. His essay "Kuda idet 'novoe' 

iskusstvo?" ("Whither the 'New' Art?") 

published in periodical Odesskie novosti 

'Odessa News). 

June. Writes to Franz Marc about plans 

for Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) 

almanac. 

Mid-September. Meets Schonberg. 

Fall. Divorce from Ania Shemiakina 

finalized. 

Meets Paul Klee. Correspondence with 

Robert Delaunay, Natalia Goncharova 

and Mikhail Larionov. 

December 2. Kandinsky, Marc, Munter 

and Alfred Kubin leave NKVM after jury 

rejects Kandinsky's Composition V. 

December 18. Erste Ausstellung der Redak- 

tion der Blaue Reiter (First Exhibition of 

the Editorial Board of the Blue Rider) 

opens at Thannhauser's Moderne Galerie, 

Munich. 

December. Uber das Geistige in der Kunst 

published by Piper, Munich. 

December 29, 31. Shorter Russian version 

of Uber das Geistige in der Kunst read by 

Kul'bin at Second All-Russian Congress of 

Artists, St. Petersburg. 



153 



Writes essay "Uber Biihnenkomposition" 
("On Stage Composition"). 

1912 

January. Participates in Jack of Diamonds 
exhibition, Moscow. 
February 12-April. Second Blaue Reiter 
exhibition held at Galerie Hans Goltz, 
Munich. 

April. Second edition of Uber das Geistige 
in der Kunst published by Piper, Munich. 
May. Der Blaue Reiter almanac pub- 
lished by Piper, Munich. 
May 25-September 30. Participates in 
Sonderbund Internationale Kunstausstel- 
lung, Cologne. 

July 7-31. Participates in Moderner Bund 
exhibition, Zurich. 

July. Extracts from Uber das Geistige in 
der Kunst published by Alfred Stieglitz in 
Camera Work, New York. 
Fall. Third edition of Uber das Geistige in 
der Kunst published by Piper, Munich. 
October 2-30. First one-man exhibition in 
Berlin at Galerie Der Sturm; exhibition 
subsequently tours to other German cities. 
October 16-December 13. Travels in Rus- 
sia, stays in Odessa and Moscow. 
November 5-18. One-man exhibition at 
Gallery Oldenzeel, Rotterdam. 
December 10. Kurdibowsky presents 
Kandinsky's art theories in lecture at 
meeting of Society of Painters, St. Peters- 
burg. 

December. Several Klange poems pub- 
lished without Kandinsky's consent in 
Russian vanguard publication Poshche- 
china obshchestvennomu vkusu (A Slap in 
the Pace of Public Taste), Moscow. 
Klange, prose poems and woodcuts, pub- 
lished by Piper, Munich. 

1913 

Kandinsky and Marc prepare for second 
Der Blaue Reiter almanac, but volume 
never appears. 

February 17-March 15. Shows one work, 
Improvisation 17 (Garden of Love), at 
Armory Show, New York, which travels 
to Chicago and Boston. 

Kandinsky, Erich Heckel, Klee, Oskar 
Kokoschka, Kubin and Marc plan to 
collaborate on Bible illustrations. 
September. Kandinsky's essay "Malerei 
als reine Kunst" ("Painting as Pure Art") 
appears in Der Sturm, Berlin. 
September 20-December 1. Participates in 
Herwarth Waiden's Erster deutscher 
Herbstsalon (First German Autumn Salon) 
at Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin. 



October. Album Kandinsky, 1901-191 5 
published by Der Sturm, Berlin, includes 
"Riickblicke" ("Reminiscences") as well as 
his descriptions of paintings Composition 
IV, Composition VI and Painting with 
White Border. 

November --December 8. Participates in 
Moderne Kunst Kring (Modern Art 
Circle), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. 

1914 

January 1. One-man show opens at 
Thannhauser's Moderne Galerie, Munich. 
January. Invited to lecture at opening of 
one-man exhibition at Kreis fiir Kunst, 
Cologne. Submits manuscript but does not 
deliver lecture. 

March. Second edition of Der Blaue 
Reiter almanac published by Piper, 
Munich. Hugo Ball plans book on the 
new theater with participation of Kandin- 
sky, Klee, Marc, de Hartmann and others. 
War curtails production. 
April 23. English edition of Uber das 
Geistige in der Kunst published in London 
and Boston; shorter Russian version pub- 
lished later in Petrograd. 
Kandinsky's letters to Arthur Jerome 
Eddy published in Eddy's book Cubists 
and Post-Impressionists in Chicago. 
May-August 1. For foyer of apartment of 
Edwin A. Campbell, 635 Park Avenue, 
New York, executes four panels (now 
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York). 

June. Extracts from Kandinsky's "Formen 
— und Farben Sprache," translated by 
Edward Wadsworth, appear in Blast I, 
London. 

August 3. After outbreak of World War I 
leaves Munich area with Munter for 
Switzerland. 

August 6-November 16. Sojourn in 
Goldach on Lake Constance, Switzerland. 
Begins work on notes that later form the 
basis for his Bauhaus Book, Punkt und 
Linie zu Flache (Point and Line to Plane), 
of 1926. 

Writes stage composition Violetter Vor- 
hang (Violet Curtain). 
December. Returns to Russia, traveling 
through Zurich and across Balkans. Ar- 
rives in Moscow after one-week stay in 
Odessa; resides at 1 Dolgii Street until 
December 1921. 

1915 

Executes no oil paintings this year. 
Alexander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepa- 
nova live temporarily in Kandinsky's 
apartment. 



March. David Burliuk rents studio next to 
Kandinsky's. 

April. Participates in Vystavka zhivopisi 
I 9 I S &od (Exhibition of Painting: 191 5), 
Moscow, with Natan Altman, David and 
Vladimir Burliuk, Goncharova, Larionov 
and others. 

May. Spends three weeks in Odessa. 
August 19-September 7. Visits Crimea. 
December 23, 1915-March 1916. To 
Stockholm, where he meets Munter for 
the last time for Christmas; he remains 
there until March. 



1916 

February 1. One-man exhibition of work 
organized by Walden and Carl Gummeson 
held at Galerie Gummeson, Stockholm. 
February. Kandinsky's essay Om Konst- 
ndren (On the Artist) published as a bro- 
chure by Gummesons Konsthandels Forlag, 
Stockholm; statement "Konsten utan 
amne" ("Art Without Subject") published 
in periodical Konst, Stockholm. 
March 17. Galerie Dada (formerly Galerie 
Corray), Zurich, opens with exhibition of 
works by Kandinsky and others. 
Leaves Stockholm for Moscow via 
Petrograd. 

June. Klange poems read by Ball at Caba- 
ret Voltaire, Zurich; poem "Sehen" 
("See") published in review Cabaret 
Voltaire, Zurich. 

Summer. Remains in Moscow with visits 
to Odessa and Kiev. 

September. Meets Nina von Andreevskaia. 
December 10, 1916-January 14, 1917. Par- 
ticipates in Vystavka sovremennoi russoi 
zhivopisi (Exhibition of Contemporary 
Russian Painting), Petrograd. 



1917 

February 11. Marries Nina von Andreev- 
skaia. 

Trip to Finland. 

April. Ball lectures on Kandinsky at Ga- 
lerie Dada, Zurich. Ball reads three poems 
by Kandinsky at second Der Sturm soiree, 
Zurich. 

September. Birth of son Volodia Kan- 
dinsky. 

Fall. Narkompros (NKP) (People's Com- 
missariat for Enlightenment) established 
in Moscow shortly after October Revolu- 
tion. Anatolii Lunacharsky is made 
Commissar of Enlightenment. 
December. Kandinsky's work reproduced 
in Dada, no. 2, published in Zurich. 



*54 



1918 

January 29. Department of Visual Arts 
(IZO) established within NKP. Vladimir 
Tatlin, Moscow division emissary for 
Lunacharsky, visits Kandinsky and re- 
quests his participation in IZO; Kandin- 
sky is named member of IZO NKP. 
Meets Liubov Popova, Olga Rozanova and 
Nadezhda Udaltsova through NKP. 
April. Svomas (Free State Art Studios), 
innovative schools, established in Moscow 
and Petrograd. Antoine Pevsner and Kazi- 
mir Malevich teach at Svomas in Moscow; 
Tatlin teaches in Moscow. 
One-man exhibition of Rodchenko's work, 
Five Years of Art, held at Club of the 
Leftist Federation, Moscow. 
July. Becomes director of theater and film 
sections of IZO NKP and is named editor 
of journal Izobrazitel'noe hkusstvo 
(Visual Art), published by IZO NKP, 
Petrograd. His article "O stesenicheskoi 
kompozitsii" ("On Stage Composition") 
appears in first issue. 
October. Becomes head of a studio at 
Moscow Svomas. 

Russian edition of "Riickblicke," Tekst 
khudozhnika. Stupeni. (Text of the Artist. 
Steps.) published by IZO NKP, Moscow. 
With critic Nikolai Punin and artists Tatlin 
and David Shterenberg, appointed to com- 
mittee in charge of International Bureau of 
IZO; Kandinsky initiates contact with 
German artists and architect Walter 
Gropius. 

December 5. Commission on the Organi- 
zation of the Museums of Painterly Cul- 
ture, IZO NKP, proposes system of new 
museums; commission includes artists 
Altman and Aleksei Karev. 

1919 

February. "O tochke" ("On the Point") 

and "O linii" ("On the Line") appear in 

lskusstvo (Art), no. 3, February 1, and 

no. 4, February 22. 

Museums of Painterly Culture established 

in Moscow, Petrograd and other cities. 

Kandinsky becomes first director. 

With Rodchenko and others Kandinsky 

helps organize a system of twenty-two 

provincial museums. 

Works on Entsiklopediia izobrazitel'nogo 

iskusstva (Encyclopedia of Fine Arts), 

which is never published. 

Participates in Fifth State Exhibition of the 

Trade Union of Artist-Painters of the New 

Art 'From Impressionism to Nonobjectiv- 

ity), Moscow, with Ivan Kliun, Antoine 

Pevsner, Popova, Rodchenko, Stepanova, 

Udaltsova and others. 



Spring. Gropius founds Bauhaus in Wei- 
mar. 

June. Kandinsky's article "W. Kandinsky: 
Selbstcharakteristik" ("Self-Characteriza- 
tion") published by Paul Westheim in 
periodical Das Kunstblatt, Potsdam. 

1919-20 

Through his administrative duties, Kan- 
dinsky is brought into frequent contact 
with Rodchenko, Stepanova and other 
artists. 

1920 

January-April. Three articles by Kandin- 
sky, including "O velikoi utopii" ("On the 
Great Utopia"), are published in IZO NKP 
journal Khudozhestvennaia zhizn' (Ar- 
tistic Life), Moscow, which had replaced 
lskusstvo in 1919. 

May. Inkhuk (Institute of Artistic Cul- 
ture) established in Moscow; affiliated or- 
ganizations are founded soon thereafter in 
Petrograd, Vitebsk and other cities in 
Soviet Union and Europe. 
June 16. Death of son Volodia. 
June. Kandinsky presents pedagogical 
program for Inkhuk at First Pan-Russian 
Conference of Teachers and Students, 
Moscow Svomas. 

Named Honorary Professor at University 
of Moscow. 

Participates in Exhibition of Four, Mos- 
cow, with Rodchenko, Stepanova and 
Nikolai Sinezubov. 

September. Svomas replaced by Vkhu- 
temas (Higher State Art-Technical Stu- 
dios), where Kandinsky teaches. 
November-December. Participates in 
Societe Anonyme exhibition, New York, 
and in Nineteenth Exhibition of the Pan- 
Russian Central Exhibiting Bureau of the 
IZO Department of the NKP. 
December 19-25. Reports on activities of 
Inkhuk at First Pan-Russian Conference 
of Heads of Art Sections operating under 
NKP, Moscow. 

Kandinsky's program is rejected; at end 
of year he leaves Inkhuk. 
Designs cups and saucers for porcelain 
factory. 

1921 

May. Appointed to chair science and art 
committee, which includes Petr Kogan and 
A.M. Rodionov, to investigate possibility 
of establishing Russian Academy of Ar- 
tistic Sciences. Also serves as chairman of 
subcommittee on physio-psychology and 
fine arts. 
July. Charles-Andre Julien interviews 



Kandinsky in Moscow for article on the 
arts in post-Revolutionary Russia, which 
is not published until 1969. 
Summer. Delivers lecture on "The Basic 
Elements of Painting" to science and art 
committee; special department of fine arts 
is not established until January 22, 1922. 
October. Kandinsky cofounds RAKhN 
(Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences) 
with Kogan, and is appointed vice-presi- 
dent. 

Participates in his last exhibitions in Rus- 
sia, Mir Iskusstva and Third Traveling Art 
Exhibition of the Soviet Regional Sub- 
division of the Museum Directorship, 
Sovetsk (Kirov Province). 
December. Kandinsky leaves Soviet Rus- 
sia for Berlin, where he stays in furnished 
room on Motzstrasse. 
Meets Lyonel Feininger. 

1922 

March. Gropius offers Kandinsky prof- 
fessorship at Weimar Bauhaus. 
April 30-June 5. One-man exhibition at 
Galerie Goldschmidt-Wallerstein, Berlin. 
June. Moves to Weimar, lives in furnished 
room in Cranachstrasse. Kandinsky and 
Klee reunited. Teaches preliminary course 
as Elementare Unterricht and is Form- 
meister of wall painting workshop at 
Bauhaus. 

July. Offered teaching position at Art 
Academy in Tokyo, which he declines. 
September. Vacations with Feininger at 
home of Gropius's mother at Timmen- 
dorfer Strand near Liibeck. 
Fall. Wall paintings for entrance room of 
projected art museum exhibited at 
Juryfreie Kunstausstellung in Glaspalast, 
Berlin. 

October 15-November. Participates in 
Erste russische Kunstausstellung at Galerie 
van Diemen, Berlin. 

Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), portfolio of 
graphic works, printed in Weimar, pub- 
lished by Propylaen-Verlag, Berlin. 

1923 

March 23-May 4. First one-man exhibi- 
tion in New York organized by Societe 
Anonyme, of which he becomes first hon- 
orary vice-president; forms close associa- 
tion with Katherine Dreier. 
April. Suggests that Schonberg direct 
Weimar Musikhochschule. 
Begins correspondence with Will Groh- 
mann. 

August 15-September 30. Bauhaus exhi- 
bition in Weimar; Kandinsky's "Die 
Grundelemente der Form" ("The Basic 



2-55 



Elements of Form"), "Farbkurs und 
Seminar" ("Color Course and Seminar") 
and "Uber die abstrakte Biihnensynthese" 
("Abstract Synthesis on the Stage") pub- 
lished in Bauhaus anthology. 
September. Vacations at Miiritz and Binz 
on Baltic Sea. 
Fall. Lives in Siidstrasse, Weimar. 



1924 

March. Blaue Vier (Blue Four), exhibition 
group comprised of Feininger, Jawlensky, 
Kandinsky and Klee, formed by Galka 
Scheyer who becomes Kandinsky's repre- 
sentative in United States. 
August. Vacations in Wennigstedt auf Sylt 
on North Sea. 



1925 

February. Visits Dresden and Dessau. 
April 1. Bauhaus at Weimar closes. 
June. Moves to Dessau where Bauhaus is 
relocated, rents furnished apartment at 
Moltkestrasse 7; sublets room to Klee. 
Kandinsky's "Abstrakte Kunst" ("Ab- 
stract Art") published in Der Cicerone. 
Summer. Vacations in Binz. 
Otto Ralfs forms Kandinsky Gesellschaft 
of eight German art collectors. 
November. Completes manuscript of 
Punkt und Linie zu Flache. 



1926 

Punkt und Linie zu Flache published by 
Albert Langen, Munich; "Tanzkurven: 
Zu den Tanzen der Palucca" ("Dance 
Curves: The Dances of Palucca") appears 
in Das Kunstblatt. 
Father dies in Odessa. 
May. Kandinsky's sixtieth birthday exhi- 
bition opens in Braunschweig, travels to 
Dresden, Berlin, Dessau and other Euro- 
pean cities. 

Mid-June. Moves to Burgkiihnauer Allee 
6 (later renamed Stresemann Allee) in 
Dessau; occupies Masters' double house 
with Klee and furnishes dining room with 
Breuer chairs. 

Summer. Vacations in Miiritz. 
November. Participates in An Interna- 
tional Exhibition of Modern Art, organ- 
ized by Societe Anonyme at The 
Brooklyn Museum. 

December. Periodical Bauhaus established. 
First issue, dedicated to Kandinsky on his 
sixtieth birthday, includes his "Der Wert 
des thcoretischen Unterrichts in der Ma- 
lerei" ("The Value of Theoretical Instruc- 
tion in Painting"). 



1927 

May. Begins to teach Free-Painting class. 

Vacations in Austria and Switzerland, 

visiting the Schonbergs at Worther See. 

Fall. Friendship with Christian Zervos 

begins. 

1928 

March. Kandinskys become German 
citizens. 

Designs scenery and costumes for and 
directs Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at 
an Exhibition, which opens April 4 at 
Friedrich-Theater, Dessau. 
Kandinsky's "Kunstpadogogik"; "Analy- 
tisches Zeichnen" ("Art Pedagogy"; "Ana- 
lytical Drawing") published in Bauhaus 
magazine. 

Meets Rudolf Bauer in Berlin, Cesar 
Domela in Dessau. 

Summer. Vacations at Nice and Juan- 
les-Pins on French Riviera; Les Sables 
d'Olonne; Paris. 

1929 

January 15-31. First one-man exhibition 

in Paris of watercolors and gouaches at 

Galerie Zak. 

Early May. Marcel Duchamp and Kath- 

erine Dreier visit Kandinsky at Bauhaus. 

Summer. Meets Hilla Rebay, Mr. and Mrs. 

Solomon R. Guggenheim. 

August. Vacations with Klee at Hendaye 

(Cote Basque); travels to Belgium, visits 

James Ensor in Ostend. 

November. Visits Erich Mendelsohn and 

his wife in Berlin. 

1930 

January. Invited by Michel Seuphor to 
collaborate on periodical Cercle et Carre. 
March 14-31. One-man exhibition at 
Galerie de France, Paris. Travels to Paris, 
meets Jean Helion and Gualtieri di San 
Lazzaro. 

Travels to Cattolica, Verona, Bologna, 
Urbino, Ravenna and Venice; is particu- 
larly impressed by mosaics in Ravenna. 
Returns to Bauhaus by May 4. 
April 18-May 1. Exhibits Two Sides 
Red and Right in Cercle et Carre exhi- 
bition at Galerie 23, Paris. 

1931 

March. Receives offer of teaching position 
at Art Students League, New York, which 
he declines. 

Designs ceramic tiles for a music room at 
Deutsche Bauausstellung, Berlin, which 
opens May 9. 



May 26. Visits Klee in Worlitz; edits Bau- 
haus, vol. V, no. 3, which includes his 
tribute to Klee. 

Summer. Visits Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, 
Greece and Italy on Mediterranean cruise. 
Fall. First contribution to Zervos's Cahiers 
d'Art: "Reflexions sur Part abstrait" 
("Reflections on Abstract Art"). 

1932 

April. Cover design for Transition, which 
also publishes his poetry. 
August 22. Dessau city legislature, led by 
National Socialist Party, decrees dissolu- 
tion of Dessau Bauhaus, effective 
October 1. 

September. Vacations in Dubrovnik, 
Yugoslavia. 

October. Bauhaus moves to outskirts of 
Berlin and operates as a private institute. 
November. Work exhibited at Valentine 
Gallery, New York. 

December 10. Moves to Bahnstrasse 19, 
Berlin Siidende, where he lives for the next 
year. 

1933 

April 11. Bauhaus in Berlin closed by 

Nazis but negotiates to reopen. 

July 20. Bauhaus closes for good, with 

decision by faculty to dissolve. 

August. Paints last work in Germany, 

Development in Brown. 

Visits Paris, vacations at Les Sablettes 

(Var) near Toulon. 

October. Stays at Hotel des Saints-Peres, 

Paris. Sees Duchamp. 

October 27-November 26. Guest of honor 

in sixth exhibition of Association Ar- 

tistique Les Surindependants, Surrealist 

group exhibition. 

Late October-December 16. Returns to 

Berlin. 

December 16-21. Travels to Bern. 

December 21. Arrives in Paris and by end 

of year moves into apartment at 135, 

boulevard de la Seine (now du general 

Koenig), Neuilly-sur-Seine, suburb of Paris. 

1934 

February. Resumes work. 

March. Meets Joan Miro. About this time 

meets Piet Mondrian and Alberto Mag- 

nelli and sees his old friend Arp. 

Works illustrated in Abstraction-Creation, 

Paris. 

April 24-May 9. Exhibition at Galleria del 

Milione, Milan. 

May 23-June 9. Exhibition at Galerie 

des "Cahiers d'Art," Paris. 

June. Visits Man Ray, Pevsner, Fernand 

Leger, Constantin Brancusi, Robert 



256 



and Sonia Delaunay. Max Ernst visits him. 
August. Vacations in Normandy (Cal- 
vados). 

1935 

February. Invited to serve as artist in resi- 
dence at Black Mountain College, Black 
Mountain, North Carolina; he declines 
the offer. 

February 24-March 31. Participates in 
These-Antithese- Syntbese at Kunst- 
museum Lucerne. 

May. Attends Futurist conference at 
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris. 
June 14-29. Works exhibited at 
Castelucho-Diana, Paris. 
June 21-September 10. One-man show at 
Galerie des "Cahiers d'Art," Paris. 
Summer. Vacations on French Riviera. 
Contributes tribute to catalogue of exhi- 
bition of Willi Baumeister, with whom 
he had corresponded since 1931. 
Shows with Max Weber and Klee at J.B. 
Neumann's New Art Circle, New York: 
his first exhibition with Neumann, who 
becomes his representative in eastern 
United States in July. 

1936 

February. Exhibitions at J. B. Neumann's 

New Art Circle in New York, and at 

Stendahl Galleries in Los Angeles. 

Participates in Abstract and Concrete, 

Lefevre Gallery, London; Cubism and 

Abstract Art, The Museum of Modern 

Art, New York. 

Kandinsky's memoir of Marc published in 

Cahiers d'Art. 

Late Summer. Vacations in Genoa, Pisa, 

Florence, Forte dei Marmi. 

December 3-19. First exhibition at Galerie 

Jeanne Bucher, Paris. 

1937 

Interviewed by art dealer Karl Nieren- 
dorf, who mounts one-man show of his 
work in New York in March. 
Kandinsky exhibition organized by Col- 
lege Art Association of America presented 
at Nierendorf Gallery, New York, and 
travels to Cleveland Museum of Art and 
Germanic Museum at Harvard University, 
Cambridge, Massachusetts. 
February 21-March 29. Kandinsky exhi- 
bition at Kunsthalle Bern; he sees it with 
Klee. 

Summer. Vacations in Brittany. 
Many of his works in German museums 
are confiscated by the Nazis. 
Included in Entartete Kunst (Degenerate 
Art) exhibition, which opens July 19 at 
Haus der Kunst, Munich. 



July 30-October 1. Participates in 
Origines et devcloppement de I' art inter- 
national indcpcndant at Jeu de Paume, 
Paris. 

French museum initiates negotiations to 
purchase Composition IX. 
December. Sees work of Arp, Taeuber- 
Arp and Miro in galleries. 

1938 

February. Renews relations with Andre 
Breton. 

Writes "Abstract of Concreet?" for cata- 
logue of exhibition Abstracte Kunst at 
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. 
One-man show at Guggenheim Jeune, 
London. 

March. Kandinsky's "L'Art Concret" 
published in first issue of San Lazzaro's 
XXe Steele. 

April. Four poems and woodcuts pub- 
lished in Transition. 
June. Meets Otto Freundlich at Freund- 
lich's exhibition at Galerie Jeanne Bucher, 
Paris. 

July 13. Signs petition in support of 
Freundlich. 

Summer. Vacations on French Riviera at 
Cap Ferrat. 

August. Kandinsky's German passport 
expires. 

1939 

January. Completes Composition X, his 
last major work in this series. 
Begins correspondence with Pierre 
Bruguiere, French official. 
February. Negotiations for proposed retro- 
spective at Jeu de Paume. 
April. French museum purchases 
Composition IX. 

May 10-27. Participates in Abstract and 
Concrete Art, Guggenheim Jeune, London; 
writes statement for it. 
June 1. Art of Tomorrow, which includes 
many Kandinsky paintings, opens at Mu- 
seum of Non-Objective Painting, New- 
York. 

June 2-17. One-man show at Galerie 
Jeanne Bucher, Paris. 
June 30-July 15. Included in first Realites 
Nouvelles exhibition at Galerie Charpen- 
tier, Paris. 

French citizenship decreed. 
Discusses proposed multimedia ballet with 
Leonide Massine. 

August. Vacations at Croix- Valmer on 
Mediterranean coast. 

September 3. War declared with Germany. 
September 27. Sends sixty-five canvases to 
Emile Redon for storage in Aveyron. 



1940 

June-August. Following German invasion 

of France, travels to Cauterets in the 

Pyrennees; on return trip sees Leger in 

Vichy. 

Autumn. Publication of Delia spiritualita 

nell'arte, translated by G. A. Colonna 

di Cesaro, by Edizioni di Religio, Rome. 

1941 

May. On behalf of Centre Americain de 

Secours and various Americans, Varian Fry 

arranges passage from Marseilles to New 

York for Kandinskys, but they decide to 

remain in France. 

Late September. Vacations in Marlotte. 

1942 

Writes short preface for portfolio 10 
Origin, edited by Max Bill. 
April 25. Domela visits Kandinsky. 
June. Completes Delicate Tensions, last 
large canvas, and henceforth does only 
small paintings on wood or canvasboard. 
July 21-August 4. One-man exhibition at 
Galerie Jeanne Bucher, held clandestinely 
because of Nazi occupation. 
December-February 1943. Retrospective 
held at Nierendorf Gallery, New York. 

1943 

March 3. Severe bombing of Paris. 
March 13-April 10. Works included in 
15 Early-ij Late at Peggy Guggenheim's 
Art of This Century, New York. 
June. Writes preface for album of Domela 
reproductions and tribute to the late 
Taeuber-Arp. 

Mid-September. Vacations at Rochefort- 
en-Yvelines. 

October 19-November 15. Sees Miro ex- 
hibition at Galerie Jeanne Bucher. 

1944 

January. Shows at Galerie Jeanne Bucher 
with Domela and Nicolas de Stael; ex- 
hibits with them and Magnelli at Galerie 
1'Esquisse, Paris, in April. 
March. Completes Tempered Elan, last 
painting catalogued in Handlist. Becomes 
ill, but continues working until July. 
April. Last letters from Kandinsky to 
Jeanne Bucher and to Domela. 
October 11-31. Four works included in 
exhibition of abstract art at Galerie Berri- 
Raspail, Paris. 

November 7-December 15. Last one-man 
exhibition during his lifetime held at 
Galerie 1'Esquisse. 

December 13. Dies in Neuilly from a 
sclerosis in cerebellum. 



2-57 



SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 




Kandinsky at Varengeville, 1939 



1. By Kandinsky 

JJber das Geistige in der Kunst. lnsbeson- 
dere in der Malerei [On the Spiritual in 
Art and Painting in Particular], Munich, 
Piper, December 191 1. Second edition 
April 1911. Third edition Fall 1912 

Der Blaue Reiter, Kandinsky and Franz 
Marc, eds., Munich, Piper, 1912. Second 
edition 1914. Documentary edition, The 
Blaue Reiter Almanac, Klaus Lankheit, 
trans., New York, Viking, I9~4 

Klange [Sounds], Munich, Piper, 1913 

"Riickblicke" [Reminiscences] in Kandin- 
sky, 1901-1913, Berlin, Der Sturm, 1913. 
French translation, "Regards sur le passe," 
in Wassily Kandinsky: Regards sur le passe 
et autres textes, 1912-1922, Paris, 
Hermann, 1974, pp. 87-132, with intro- 
duction by Jean-Paul Bouillon 

"Stupeni" in Tekst khudozhnika ["Steps" 
in Text of the Artist], Moscow, IZO NKP, 
1918. Russian version of "Riickblicke" 

Punkt und Linie zu Flache: Beitrag zur 
Analyse der malerischen Elemente [Point 
and Line to Plane. A Contribution to the 
Analysis 0/ the Pictorial Elements], Bau- 
hausbiicher 9, Munich, Albert Langen, 
1916 

"Line and Fish," Axis, no. 2, April 1935, 
p. fa 

[Untitled statement] in // Milione: Bol- 
letino della Galleria del Milione, Milan, 
no. 41, May-June 1935, special issue, 
"Ommagio a Baumeister" 

Interview in // laioro fascista, vol. XIII, 
July 28, 1935, p. 4 

"L'Art aujourd'hui est plus vivant que 
jamais," Cahiers d'Art, toe annee, no. 1-4, 
1935, pp. 53-56. Reply to a questionnaire 

"Toile vide, etc.," Cahiers d'Art, ioe 
annee, no. 5-6, 1935, p. 117 

[Untitled statement] in These-Antithese- 



Z 5 8 



Synthase, exh. cat., Lucerne, 1935, 
pp. 15-16 

"l.'Art concret," XXe Siicle, no. 1, March 
1938, pp. 9-1 * 

"Blick und Blitz," "Ergo," "S," "Erin- 
nerungen," "Anders," "Inimer Zusam- 
men," Transition, no. 27, April-May 193S, 
pp. 104-109 

"Mes Gravures sur bois," XXe Steele, vol. 
1, July 1938, p. 31 

Excerpt from a letter to Irmgard Burchard, 
December 193-, in Peter Thoene, Modern 
German Art, London, Harmondsworth, 

1938, p. 76 

"La Valeur d'une oeuvre concrete," XXe 
Siecle, vol. 1, no. 5-6, Winter-Spring 

1939, PP- 48-50 

"Salongesprach," "Testimonium Pauper- 
tatis," "Weiss-Horn," Plastique, no. 4, 
1939, PP- 14-16 

[Untitled statement] in Max Bill, ed., 10 
Origin, Zurich, 1942 

[Preface], Doinela, six reproductions en 
couleurs d'apres quelques oenvres recentes, 
Paris, 1943 

ir Tableaux et 7 poemes, Friedrich Vor- 
demberge-Gildewart, ed., Amsterdam, 
Editions Duwaer, 1945 

Concerning the Spiritual in Art and Paint- 
ing in Particular, M. T. H. Sadler, trans., 
revisions by Francis Golffing, Michael 
Harrison and Ferdinand Osterlag, New 
York, Wittenborn Schultz Inc., 1947. 
Additional texts by Julia and Lyonel 
Feininger, Nina Kandinsky and Stanley 
William Hayter; eight prose poems by 
Kandinsky, 1912-37, in German with 
English trans. 

"Les reliefs colores de Sophie Taeuber- 
Arp" in Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Georg 
Schmidt, ed., Basel, 1948 

Du Spirituel dans Part et dans la peinture 
en particulier, M. and Mme De Man, 
trans., Paris, Editions Rene Drouin, 1949. 

Contains original color woodcut by Kan- 
dinsky. Limited edition of 300, printed by 
G. Duval and Imprimerie Union 

Du Spirituel dans Part et dans la peinture 
en particulier, M. and Mme De Man, 
trans., Paris, Editions de Beaune, 1954. 
Postface by Charles Estienne 



For Kandinsky 's collected writings see: 

Kandinsky: Essays iiber Kunst und 
Kiiustler, Max Bill, ed., Stuttgart, 1955. 
Contains most of Kandinsky's articles 
published between 191 1 and 1943 

Wassily Kandinsky: Ecrits complets, 
Philippe Sers, ed., Paris, Denoel-Gonthier, 
vol. 1, 1970; vol. 3, 1975; vol. 1 in 
preparation 

Wassily Kandinsky: Tutti gli scritti, 
Philippe Sers, ed., Milan, Feltrinelli, vol. 1, 
19-3; vol. 2, 19-4 

Kandinsky: Die Gesammelten Schriften, 
Hans K. Roethel and Jelena Hahl-Koch, 
eds., Bern, Benteli Verlag, vol. 1, 1980 

Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art, 
Kenneth C. Lindsay and Peter Vergo, eds., 
2 vols., Boston, G. H. Hall & Co., 1982 

2. On Kandinsky and His Contemporaries 

Daniel Abadie, Helton on la force des 
choses, Brussels, 1975 

Abstraction-Creation: art non-figuratif, 
nos. i—j, 1932-36, reprint edition, New 
York, Arno Press, 1968 

Abstrakt-Konkret : Bulletin de la Galerie 
des Eaux Vives, Zurich, no. 10, 1945. Texts 
by Max Bill, Vasily Kandinsky, Leo 
Leuppi and Michel Seuphor 

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New 
York, Ben Nicholson: Fifty Years of His 
Art, 1978. Exhibition catalogue with text 
by Steven A. Nash 

Troels Andersen, "Some Unpublished 
Letters by Kandinsky," Artes, Copen- 
hagen, vol. II, October 1966, pp. 90-110 

Louis Aragon, "Expositions: La Peinture 
au Tournant (1)," Commune, le annee, 
June 1935, pp. 1181-1182, 1185-1189 

Jean Arp and Jean Gorin, "Art Concret," 
Arts, July 6, 1945, p. 2 

Art d'aujourd'hui, no. 6, January 1950, 
special section, "W. Kandinsky," with 
texts by Charles Estienne, Carola Giedion- 
Welcker and R. V. Gindertael, n.p. 

Axis: A Quarterly Review of Contempo- 
rary "Abstract" Painting and Sculpture, 
nos. 1-8, 1935-37, reprint edition, New 
York, Arno Press, 1969 

Gaston Bachelard, Le Nouvel esprit scien- 
tifique, Paris, 1936 

Vivian Endicott Barnett, "Kandinsky: 
From Drawing and Watercolor to Oil," 



Drawing, vol. Ill, July-August 1981, 
PP- 30-34 

Vivian Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky at the 
Guggenheim, New York, 1983 

Carlo Belli, Kn, Milan, 1935 

Berggruen & Cie, Paris, Kandinsky: 
aquarelles et dessins, 1972. Exhibition 
catalogue with texts by Hans Arp, Paul 
Klee, Franz Marc, Joan Miro, Christian 
Zervos et al. 

H. Bertram, Kandinsky, Copenhagen, 
1946. Reprint edition, Copenhagen, 1965, 
with introduction by Poul Vad 

Max Bill, ed., Wassily Kandinsky, Boston 
and Paris, 1951. Texts by Jean Arp, 
Charles Estienne, Carola Giedion-Welcker, 
Will Grohmann, Ludwig Grote, Nina 
Kandinsky and Alberto Magnelli 

Anthony Blunt, "The 'Realism' Quarrel," 
Left Review, vol. Ill, April 1937, 
pp. 169-171 

John E. Bowk and Rose-Carol Washton 
Long, eds., The Life of Vasilii Kandinsky 
in Russian Art: A Study of "On the 
Spiritual in Art," Newtonville, Massa- 
chusetts, 1980 

Andre Breton, Le Surrealisme et la pein- 
ture, Paris, 1928 

Andre Breton, "Picasso dans son element," 
Minotaure, no. 1, 1933, pp. 2-37 

Andre Breton, "Introduction," Constella- 
tions, New York, 1959 

Andre Breton and Paul Eluard, "Enquete," 
Minotaure, no. 3-4, December 12, 1933, 
pp. 101-116 

Herbert Brinkmann, Wassily Kandinski 

als Dichter, Ph.D. dissertation, University 
of Cologne, 1980 

Marcel Brion, "Cesar Domela," Cahiers 
d' Art, vol. XXVIII, no. 1, 1953, pp. 107-111 

Marcel Brion, Art abstrait, Paris, 1956 

Marcel Brion, Kandinsky , Paris, i960. 
English edition, London, 1961 

Bernard Causton, "Art in Germany under 
the Nazis," The Studio, vol. CXII, No- 
vember 1936, pp. 235-246 

"Centenaire de Kandinsky," XXe Siecle, 
vol. XXVII, December 1966, special issue 
with texts by Charles Estienne, Will Groh- 
mann, Klaus Lankheit, Kenneth C. Lind- 
say and Paul Volboudt. English edition, 



2-59 



Homage to Wassily Kandmsky, New 
York, 1975 

Centre National d'Art Contemporain, 
Paris, Louis Fernandez, Cnac archives no. 
4, 1972. Exhibition catalogue 

Andre Chastel, Nicolas de Stael, Paris, 
1968. With catalogue raisonne of oil 
paintings by Jacques Dubourg and Fran- 
coise de Stael and letters annotated by 
Germain Viatte 

Alain Clairet, Catalogue Raisonne de 
Cesar Domela-Nieuwenhuis (peintures, 
reliefs, sculptures), Madelaine Hage, 
trans., Paris, 1978 

The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Spirit 
of Surrealism, 1979. Exhibition catalogue 
with text by Edward B. Henning 

Arthur A. Cohen, Sonia Delaunay, New 
York, 1975 

Arthur A. Cohen, ed., The New Art of 
Color: The Writings of Robert and Sonia 
Delaunay, Arthur A. Cohen, David 
Shapiro et al., trans., The Documents of 
loth-Century Art, New York, 1978 

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 
D.C., Georges Vantongerloo, 1980. Exhi- 
bition catalogue with texts by Jane 
Livingston, Phil Mertens, Angela Thomas- 
Jankowski and the artist 

Salvador Dali, La Conquete de I'irration- 
nel, Paris, 1935. English edition, 
New York, 1935 

Leon Degand, "Le Sens des mots" in Les 
Lettres francaises, June 23, 1945, p. 4 

Leon Degand, Langage et signification de 
la peinture en figuration et en abstraction, 
Boulogne-sur-Seine, 1956 

Christian Derouet, "Kandinsky, 'Triumvir' 
de l'exposition du Jeu de Paume en 1937" 
in Paris 1957-Paris 1957: creations en 
France, exh. cat., Paris, 1981, pp. 64-67 

Christian Derouet, "Vassily Kandinsky: 
Notes et documents sur les dernieres 
.unices du peintre," Cahiers du Musee 
National d'Art Moderne, Paris, no. 9, 
1982, pp. 84-107 

Robert Descharnes, Salvador Dali, New 
York, 1976 

Jacques Dupin, Joan Miro: Life and Work, 
Norbert Guterman, trans., New York, 
1962 



John Elderfield, "Geometric Abstract 
Painting and Paris in the Thirties, Part II," 
Artforum, vol. VIII, June 1970, pp. 70-75 

Encyclopedic de la Pleiade, Histoire de 
Part. 4. Du Realisme a nos jours, Bernard 
Dorival, ed., Paris, 1969 

Charles Estienne, Kandinsky, Paris, 1950 

Charles Estienne, "Deux Eclairages, Kan- 
dinsky & Miro," XXe Siecle, no. 1, June 
195 1, pp. 21-26 

Denise Fedit, L'Oeuure de Kupka, Paris, 
1966 

Otto Freundlich, Schriften. Ein Wegbe- 
reiter der gegendstandlosen Kunst, 
Cologne, 1982 

Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, Hans 
Reichel, 1962. Exhibition catalogue with 
texts by Bissiere, Brassai, Lawrence 
Durrell and Henry Miller 

Galerie Rene Drouin, Paris, Art concret, 
1945. Exhibition catalogue with texts by 
Hans Arp, Robert Delaunay, Theo van 
Doesburg, Naum Gabo, Kandinsky and 
Antoine Pevsner 

Galerie Rene Drouin, Paris, Kandinsky: 
Gouaches, aquarelles, dessins, 1947. Ex- 
hibition catalogue with text by Marcel 
Arland 

Galerie Rene Drouin, Paris, Kandinsky, 
epoque parisienne, 1949. Exhibition cata- 
logue with texts by Charles Estienne and 
Henri-Pierre Roche 

Les Galeries Nationales d'Exposition du 
Grand Palais, Paris, Helion: cent tableaux 
1928-1970, 1971. Exhibition catalogue 
with texts by Francis Ponge, Christian 
Zervos et al. 

Galleria del Milione, Milan, Kandinsky , 
1934. Exhibition catalogue with state- 
ments by Willi Baumeister, Will Groh- 
mann, Michel Seuphor, Christian Zervos 
et al. 

Galleries of the Societe Anonyme, New 
York, Kandinsky, 1923. Exhibition bro- 
chure with text by Katherine S. Dreier 

Malcolm Gee, Dealers, Critics, and Collec- 
tors of Modern Painting: Aspects of the 
Parisian Art Market Between 1910 and 
1930, New York, 1981 

Gemecntemuseum, The Hague, Max Bill, 
1968. Exhibition catalogue with text by 
Will Grohmann 



Herbert S. Gershman, The Surrealist 
Revolution in France, Ann Arbor, Michi- 
gan, 1964 

Carola Giedion-Welcker, "Kandinskys 
Malerei als Ausdruck: eines geistigen 
Universalismus," Werk, vol. 37, April 
1950, pp. 119-123 

Carola Giedion-Welcker, Hans Arp, Stutt- 
gart, 1957 

Jiirgen Glaesemer, Paul Klee: Handzeich- 
nungen, Bern, vol. 1, Kindheit bis 1910, 
1973; vol. Ill, 19)7-1940, 1979; vol. II, 
1921-19)6, 1984 

Jiirgen Glaesemer, Paul Klee: Die farbigen 
Werke im Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, 1976 

Laszlo Glozer, Picasso und der Surrealis- 
mus, Cologne, 1974 

Eugen Gomringer, Josef Albers, New 
York, 1968 

Clement Greenberg, Art and Culture: 
Critical Essays, Boston, 1961 

Jean Grenier, "Kandinsky et Henri 
Michaux," Combat, November 20, 1944 

Will Grohmann, "Wassily Kandinsky," 
Cahiers d'Art, 4e annee, 1929, pp. 322-329 

Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky, 
Paris, 1930. Additional texts by Katherine 
Dreier, Maurice Raynal, Christian Zervos 
et al. 

Will Grohmann, "Catalogue des oeuvres 
graphiques," Selection, no. 14, July 1933, 
pp. 28-32 

Will Grohmann, "L'Art non-figuratif en 
Allemagne," U Amour de I' Art, no. VII, 
September 1934, pp. 433-440 

Will Grohmann, Paul Klee, 1879-7940, 
Basel, Munich and Vienna, 1955 

Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky: 
Leben und Werk, Cologne, 1958. English 
edition, Wassily Kandinsky: Life and 
Work, Norbert Guterman, trans., New 
York, 1958 

Will Grohmann, Baumeister: Leben und 
Werk, Cologne, 1963 

Peggy Guggenheim, ed., Art of this Cen- 
tury: Objects, Drawings, Photographs, 
Paintings, Sculpture, Collages, 1910-1942, 
New York, 1942 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Piet Mondrian, 1872-1944: 
Centennial Exhibition, 1971. Exhibition 
catalogue with texts by Max Bill, Nelly 



'.60 



van Doesburg, Joop Joosten, Margit 
Rowell and Robert P. Welsh 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Joan Miro: Magnetic Fields, 
1971. Exhibition catalogue with texts by 
Rosalind Krauss and Margit Rowell 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Franti'sek Kupka 1871-195J: 
A Retrospectii'e, 1975. Exhibition cata- 
logue with texts by Meda Mladek and 
Margit Rowell 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Kandinsky Watercolors: A 
Selection from The Solomon R. Guggen- 
heim Museum and The Hilla von Rebay 
Foundation, 1980. Exhibition catalogue 
with texts by Vivian Endicott Barnett and 
Louise Averill Svendsen 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Kandinsky in Munich: 1896- 
1914, 1981. Exhibition catalogue with 
texts by Peter Jelavich, Carl E. Schorske 
and Peg Weiss 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Julio Gonzalez: A Retrospec- 
tive, 19S3. Exhibition catalogue with text 
by Margit Rowell 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Kandinsky: Russian and Bau- 
haus Years, 1915-1933, 1983. Exhibition 
catalogue with text by Clark V. Poling 

Werner Haftmann, Paul Klee: Wege 
bildnerischen Denkens, Munich, 1950. 
English edition, The Mind and Eye of 
Paul Klee, New York, 1967 

Werner Haftmann, "Kandinsky 192.7- 
1933," Derriere le miroir, no. 154, Novem- 
ber 1965, pp. 1-18 

Jelena Hahl-Koch, ed., Arnold Schon- 
berg—Wassily Kandinsky: Briefe, Bilder 
und Dokumente: einer aussergewohn- 
lichen Begegnung, Vienna, 1980. English 
edition, Arnold Schoenberg— Wassily 
Kandinsky: Letters, Pictures and Docu- 
ments, John C. Crawford, trans., London, 
1984 

A. M. Hammacher, The Sculpture of Bar- 
bara Hepworth, James Brockway, trans., 
New York, 1968 

Erika Hanfstaengl, Wassily Kandinsky, 
Zeichnungen und Aquarelle: Katalog der 
Sammlung in der Stadtischen Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus, Munich, 1974 

Haus der Kunst, Munich, Wassily Kan- 
dinsky 1866-1944, 1976. Exhibition cata- 



logue with text by Thomas M. Messer 

Stanley Hayter, "The Language of Kan- 
dinsky," Magazine of Art, vol. 38, May 
1945. PP- 176-179 

Barbara Hepworth, Barbara Hepworth: A 
Pictorial Autobiography, New York, 1970 

Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. Apter et al., 
eds., The Societe Anonyme at Yale Univer- 
sity: A Catalogue Raisonne, London and 
New Haven, 1984 

J. P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, Neuchatel, 
1961 

Rene Huyghe, "L'Allemagne et l'Europe 
centrale," V Amour de I' Art, no. VII, 
September 1934, pp. 417-411 

Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Hommage a 
Otto Freundlich a I' occasion du looeme 
anniversaire, 1978. Exhibition catalogue 
with texts by Yona Fischer and the artist 

H. L. C. Jaffe, Piet Mondrian, New York, 
1970 

Anatole Jakovski, "Alberto Magnelli: 
a propos de son exposition a la Galerie 
Pierre," Cahiers d 'Art, 9e annee, 1934, 
pp. 2.01-203 

Anatole Jakovski, H. Erni, S. Schiess, 
K. Seligmann, S. Taeuber-Arp, 
G. Vulliamy, Paris, 1934 

Anatole Jakovski, "Wassily Kandinsky," 
Axis, no. 1, April 1935, pp. 9-12. 

Sidney Janis, Abstract and Surrealist Art 
in America, New York, 1944 

Ejner Johansson, Richard Mortensen, 
Copenhagen, 1962 

Jean-Pierre Jouffroy, La Mesure de 
Nicolas de Stael, Neuchatel, 1981 

Nina Kandinsky, Kandinsky und ich, 
Munich, 1976. French edition, Kandinsky 
et mot, J.M. Gaillard-Paquet, trans., 
Paris, 1978 

"Kandinsky [works 1913-38]," Derriere 
le miroir, no. 60-61, October-November 
1953. Issued as catalogue for exhibition at 
Galerie Maeght, Paris, with text by Will 
Grohmann 

R.C. Kennedy, "Kandinsky's Paris Period," 
Art and Artists, vol. 4, November 1969, 
pp. 30-33 

Kettle's Yard Gallery, Cambridge, Eng- 
land, Circle: Constructive Art in Britain 
1934-1940, Jeremy Lewison, ed., 1981. 
Exhibition catalogue 



Felix Klee, Paul Klee: Leben und Werk in 
Dokumenten, Zurich, i960 

M. Knoedler and Co., Inc., New York, 
Kandinsky: Parisian Period 1934-1944, 
1969. Exhibition catalogue with texts by 
Nina Kandinsky, Gaetan Picon and 
Rose-Carol Washton 

Hilton Kramer, "Kandinsky: The Last 
Decade" in The Age of the Avant Garde: 
An Art Chronicle of 1956 to 1972, 
New York, 1973, pp. 138-141 

Kunsthalle Basel, Konkrete Kunst, 1944. 
Exhibition catalogue with texts by Hans 
Arp and Max Bill 

Michel Conil Lacoste, Kandinsky, Paris, 
1979. English edition, Shirley Jennings, 
trans., New York, 1979 

Klaus Lankheit, ed., Wassily Kandinsky- 
Franz Marc Briefwechsel. Mit Briefen von 
und an Gabriele Miinter und Maria Marc, 
Munich, 1983 

Jacques Lassaigne, Kandinsky: Bibliogra- 
phical and Critical Study, Geneva, 1964 

Jacques Lassaigne and Guy Weelen, 
Vieira da Silva, Paris, 1978 

Andre Lhote, "Kandinsky et ses jeunes 
censeurs," Les Lettres francaises, 
January 13, 1945 

Kenneth C. Lindsay, An Examination of 
the Fundamental Theories of Wassily 
Kandinsky, Ph. D. dissertation, University 
of Wisconsin, Madison, 195 1 

Kenneth C. Lindsay, "Wassily Kandinsky, 
Life and Work, by Will Grohmann," 
Art Bulletin, vol. XLI, December 1959, 
pp. 348-350 

Kenneth C. Lindsay, "Kandinsky and the 
Compositional Factor," Art Journal, 
vol. 43, Spring 1983, pp. 14-18 

Jacques Lipchitz, 12 Dessins pour 
Promethee, Paris, 1940 

Giovanni Lista, Marinetti et le futurisme, 
Lausanne, 1977 

Anne Lochard, Magnelli: opere 1907-1939, 
Marcella Cartasegna, trans., Rome, 1971. 
Introduction by F. Le Lionnais 

Pierre Loeb, Voyages a travers la peinture, 
Paris, 1945 

Rose-Carol Washton Long, Kandinsky: 
The Development of an Abstract Style, 
New York, 1980 

Joan M. Lukach, Hilla Rebay: In Search 



2.61 



of the Spirit in Art, New York, 1983 

Dougald MacMillan, Transition: the 
History of a Literary' Era, 1927-1938, 
London, 1975 

Anne Maisonnier-Lochard, Catalogue 
raisonne de I'oeuvre peint a" Alberto 
Magnelli, Paris, 1975 

Nicole S. Mangin, Catalogue de I'oeuvre 
de Georges Braque, 6 vols., Paris, 1959-82 

J. Leslie Martin, Ben Nicholson and Naum 
Gabo, eds., Circle: International Survey of 
Constructive Art, London, 1937 

Joan Miro, Ceci est la couleur de mes 
rives. Entretiens avec Georges Kaillard, 
Paris, 1977 

Reynolds A. Morse, Dali: A Study of His 
Life and Works, Boston, 1958 

Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de 
Paris, Hans Reichel, 1975. Exhibition 
catalogue with text by Jacques Lassaigne 

Musee du Jeu de Paume, Paris, Origines 
et developpement de I' art international 
independant, 1937. Exhibition catalogue 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Robert et Sonia 
Delaunay, 196-7. Exhibition catalogue with 
text by Michel Hoog 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Henri Michaux, 

1978. Exhibition catalogue with texts by 
Genevieve Bonnefoi, Octavio Paz, Jean 
Starobinski et al. 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Kandinsky, 
trente peintures des musees sovietiques, 

1979. Exhibition catalogue with text by 
Christian Derouet 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Fernand Leger, 
la poesie de I'objet 1928-1934, 1981. 
Exhibition catalogue with text by 
Christian Derouet and Maurice Jardot 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Paris 1937- 
Paris 1957: creations en France, 1981. 
Exhibition catalogue 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Braque: oeuvres 
de Georges Braque 1881-196}, 1981. 
Exhibition catalogue with text by 
Nadine Pouillon 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Hans/ Jean Arp: 



le temps des papiers dechires, 1983. Exhi- 
bition catalogue with texts by Aimee 
Bleikasten, Pierre Bruguiere, Christian 
Derouet, Greta Stroh, the artist et al. 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Kandinsky: 
Album de I'exposition, 1984. Exhibition 
catalogue with texts by Christian Derouet, 
Thomas M. Messer, Werner Schmalen- 
bach, Frank Stella, Armin Zweite et al. 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Kandinsky, 
1984. Collection catalogue with texts by 
Christian Derouet and Jessica Boissel 

Musee de Peinture, Grenoble, Andry-Earcy, 
un conservateur novateur: Le Musee de 
Grenoble de 1919 a 1949, 1982. Exhibition 
catalogue with text by Helene Vincent 

Musee de Pontoise, La Donation Freund- 
lich au Musee de Pontoise, 1974. Exhibi- 
tion catalogue with text by Edda Maillet 

Museen der Stadt Koln, Paul Klee: Das 
Werk der Jahre 1919-1933, Gemalde, 
Handzeichnungen, Druckgraphik, 1979. 
Exhibition catalogue with texts by Marcel 
Franciscono, Christian Geelhaar, Siegfried 
Gohr et al. 

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Miro 
in America, 1980. Exhibition catalogue 
with texts by Duncan MacMillan, Judith 
McCandless, Barbara Rose, James 
Johnson Sweeney et al. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
Cubism and Abstract Art, 1936. Exhibi- 
tion catalogue with text by Alfred H. 
Barr, Jr. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
Bauhaus 1919-1928, Herbert Bayer, Walter 
Gropius and Ise Gropius, eds., 1938. 
Exhibition catalogue 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
Sophie Taeuber-Arp, 1981. Exhibition 
catalogue with text by Carolyn Lanchner 

Museum of Non-Objective Painting, New 
York, In Memory of Wassily Kandinsky, 
Hilla Rebay, ed., 1945. Exhibition cata- 
logue with texts by V. Agrarych, Hilla 
Rebay and the artist 

New Burlington Galleries, London, 
The International Surrealist Exhibition, 
1936. Exhibition catalogue with texts by 
Andre Breton and Herbert Read; David 
Gascoyne, trans. 

Ben Nicholson, N. Gabo, London, 1937. 
Reprint edition, New York, 1971 



Karl Nierendorf, ed., Paul Klee: Paintings, 
Watercolors, 1913-1939, New York, 1941. 
Introduction by James Johnson Sweeney 

"Ommagio a Kandinsky," Forma, vol. 2, 
May 1950. Texts by Charles Estienne, 
Nina Kandinsky, Kenneth C. Lindsay, 
E. Prampolini, Hilla Rebay et al. 

Eugenio d'Ors and Jacques Lassaigne, 
Almanach des Arts: L'Annee de I'exposi- 
tion, Paris, 1937 

Paul Overy, "The Later Painting of 
Wassily Kandinsky," Apollo, no. 78, 
August 1963, pp. 117-123 

Paul Overy, Kandinsky: The Language 
of the Eye, New York, 1 969 

Pierre Peissi and Carola Giedion-Welcker, 
Antoine Pevsner, Haakon Chevalier, trans., 
Neuchatel, 1961 

Petit Palais, Paris, Les Maitres de I' art 
independant, 1895-1937, 1937. Exhibition 
catalogue 

Alexei Pevsner, A Biographical Sketch of 
my Brothers, Naum Gabo and Antoine 
Pevsner, Amsterdam, 1964 

Philadelphia Museum of Art, A.E. Gallatin 
Collection: "Museum of Living Art," 
1954. Collection catalogue with texts by- 
Jean Helion and James Johnson Sweeney 

"Picasso de 1930 a 193s," Cahiers d'Art, 
vol. 10, 1935, special issue with texts by 
Salvador Dali, Louis Fernandez, Julio 
Gonzalez, Benjamin Peret, Jaime Sabartes 
and Christian Zervos, pp. 145-261 

Gaetan Picon, "Preface," Kandinsky, 
carnet de dessins, 1941, Paris, Editions Karl 
Flinker, 1972 

Plastique, no. i-s, Spring 1937-1939, 
reprint edition, New York, Arno Press, 
1969 

Stefanie Poley, Hans Arp: Die For- 
mensprache in plastischen Werk, 
Stuttgart, 1978 

Clark V. Poling, Kandinsky-Unterricht 
am Bauhaus: Farbenseminar und an- 
alytisches Zeichnen dargestellt am Beispiel 
der Sammlung des Bauhaus-Archivs, 
Berlin, Weingarten, 1982 

Bernd Rau, Hans Arp, Die Reliefs: 
Oeuvre-Katalog, Stuttgart, 1981. Intro- 
duction by Michel Seuphor 

Herbert Read, Art Now, London, 1934 

Herbert Read, Barbara Hepworth: 






Carvings and Drawings, London, 1951 

Herbert Read, ed., Ben Nicholson, Lon- 
don, vol. 1, Work from 1911-1948, 1955; 
vol. II, Work Since 1947, 1956 

Herbert Read, Kandinsky 1S66-1944, 
London, 1959 

Herbert Read and Leslie Martin, Gabo: 
Constructions, Sculpture, Paintings, 
Drawings and Engravings, London, 1957 

Peter Anselm Riedl, Wassily Kandinsky 
in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten, 
Hamburg, 1983 

Sixten Ringbom, "Art in the 'Epoch of the 
Great Spiritual': Occult Elements in the 
Early Theory of Abstract Painting," 
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld 
Institutes, vol. XXIX, 1966, pp. 386-418 

Sixten Ringbom, The Sounding Cosmos: 
A Study in the Spiritualism of Kandinsky 
and the Genesis of Abstract Painting, 
Abo, Finland, 1970 

Hans Konrad Roethel, Kandinsky: Das 
Graphische Werk, Cologne, 1970 

Hans K. Roethel, Kandinsky, Paris, 1977. 
Revised and translated as Hans K. Roethel 
in collaboration with Jean K. Benjamin, 
Kandinsky, New York, 1979 

Hans K. Roethel and Jean K. Benjamin, 
Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonne of the Oil 
Paintings, Ithaca, New York, vol. I., 1900- 
1915, 1982; vol. II, 1916-1944, 1984 

Robert Rosenblum, "Picasso as Surreal- 
ist," Artforum, vol. V, September 1966, 
special issue on Surrealism, pp. 21-25 

Margit Rowell, Miro, New York, 1970 

Angelica Zander Rudenstine, The Gug- 
genheim Museum Collection: Paintings 
1880-1945, New York, 1976, vol. 1, 
pp. 204-391 

Serge Sabarsky Gallery, New York, Paul 
Klee: The Late Years 1930-1940, 1977. 
Exhibition catalogue 

Merle Schipper, Helion: The Abstract 
Years, 1919-1959, Ph. D. dissertation, 
University of California, 1974 

Georg Schmidt, ed., Sophie Taeuber-Arp, 
Basel, 1948. Includes catalogue raisonne 
by Hugo Weber 

Michel Seuphor, L'Arr abstrait, ses 
origines, ses premiers maitres, Paris, 1949 

Michel Seuphor, Mission spirituelle de 
Part a propos de I'oeuvre de Sophie 
Taeuber-Arp et Jean Arp, Paris, 1953 



Michel Seuphor, Piet Mondrian: Life and 
Work, New York, 1956 

Michel Seuphor, Cercle et Carre, Paris, 

1971 

James Thrall Soby, Joan Miro, New York, 
1959. Second edition 1969 

Charles Spencer, "Profile of Paule 
Vezelay," Arts Review, vol. XX, October 
26, 1968, p. 683 

Werner Spies, Albers, New York, 1971 

Werner Spies, ed., Max Ernst: Oeuvre 
Katalog, Cologne, vol. I, Das Graphische 
Werk, 1975; vol. II, Werke 1906-1925, 
1975; vol. Ill, Werke 1925-1929, 1976; 
vol. IV, Werke 1929-1938, 1979 

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Klee und Kandin- 
sky, Erinnerung an eine Kiinstlerfreund- 
schaft, 1979. Exhibition catalogue with 
text by Magdalena Droste 

Margit Staber, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, 
Lausanne, 1970 

Margit Staber, Max Bill, St. Gallen, 1971 

Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Mu- 
nich, Kandinsky und Mitnchen 1896- 
1914, 1982. Exhibition catalogue with 
texts by Peter Jelavich, Johannes Langner, 
Sixten Ringbom, Carl E. Schorske, Peg 
Weiss and Armin Zweite 

Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Mu- 
nich, Jean Helion: Abstraktion und 
Mythen des Alltags: Bilder, Zeichnungen, 
Gouachen, 1925-1983, 1984. Exhibition 
catalogue with texts by Pierre Georges 
Bruguiere, Bernard Dahan, Merle S. 
Schipper, Armin Zweite and the artist 

Le Surrealisme au Service de la Revolu- 
tion, nos. 1-6, 1930-1933, reprint edition, 
New York, Arno Press, 1968 

Denys Sutton, De Stael, Milan, 1966 

James Johnson Sweeney, Plastic Redirec- 
tions in 20th-century Painting, Chicago, 
1934 

James Johnson Sweeney, Joan Miro, 
New York, 1941. Second edition 1969 

The Tate Gallery, London, Paule Vezelay, 
1983. Exhibition catalogue with introduc- 
tion by Ronald Alley 

Ludmila Vachtova, Prank Kupka, Pioneer 
of Abstract Art, Zdenek Lederer, trans., 
Chicago and New York, 1968 

Rose Valland, Le Front de Part: Defense 
des collections francaises 1939-1945, 
Paris, 196 1 



Dora Vallier, Vieira da Silva, Paris, 1971 

Pierre Volboudt, Kandinsky, 1922-1944, 
New York, 1963 

Pierre Volboudt, Die Zeichnungen 
Wassily Kandinsky, Cologne, 1974 

Gustav Vriesen and Max Imdahl, Robert 
Delaunay: Licht und Parbe, Cologne, 1967 

Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, Offo 
Freundlich, 187S-1943, Gemalde, Gra- 
phiken, Skulpturen, i960. Exhibition 
catalogue with text by Gunter Aust 

Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, 
Traum-Zeicben-Raum: Benennung des 
Unbenannten: Kunst in den Jahren 1914 
bis 1939, 1965. Exhibition catalogue with 
texts by Horst Keller and Gert von der 
Osten 

Guy Weelen, Vieira da Silva: les estampes 
1929-1976, Paris, 1977 

Peg Weiss, Kandinsky in Munich: The 
Formative Jugendstii Years, Princeton, 
1979 

Westfalisches Landesmuseum fur Kunst 
und Kulturgeschichte, Munster, and 
Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 
Abstraction-Creation 1931-1936, 1978. 
Exhibition catalogue with text by 
Gladys C. Fabre 

Josephine Withers, Julio Gonzalez: 
Sculpture in Iron, New York, 1978 

Jan Wiirtz Frandsen, Richard Mortensen 
ungdomsarene 1930-1940 mellem sur- 
realisme og abstraktion, Copenhagen, 
1984 

Zabriskie Gallery, New York, Paule 
Vezelay: Paintings, Drawings and Con- 
structions 1933-1980, 1980. Exhibition 
catalogue with text by Eric Weiner 

Christian Zervos, "L'Oeuvre de Joan Miro 
de 1917 a 1933," Cahiers d'Art, 9e annee, 
no. 1-4, 1934, PP- n-58 

Christian Zervos, "Notes sur Kandinsky: 
a propos de sa recente exposition a la 
Galerie des 'Cahiers d'Art,' " Cahiers d'Art, 
9e annee, no. 5-8, 1934, pp. 149-157 

Christian Zervos, Histoire de Part con- 
temporain, Paris, 1938 

Christian Zervos, "Wassily Kandinsky 
1 866-1944," Cahiers d'Art, 2oe-2ie 
annees, 1945-46, pp. 114-127 

Christian Zervos, Domela, Meulon Hoff, 
trans., Amsterdam, 1966 



-63 



INDEX OF ARTISTS IN THE CATALOGUE 



Alhers, Josef cat. nos. 51, 185 

Arp, Hans cat. nos. 44, 49, 64, 81, 13: 

Arp, Hans, and Taeuber-Arp, Sophie 
cat. no. 83 

Baumeister, Willi cat. no. 30 

Beckmann, Hannes cat. no. 102 

Bill, Max cat. no. 191 

Bille, Ejler cat. no. 196 

Breitenbach, Joseph cat. nos. 
19, 20, 101 

Char, Rene cat. nos. 32, 35 

Delaunay, Robert cat. no. 182 

Delaunay, Sonia cat. no. 183 

Domela, Cesar cat. no. 189 

Dreier, Katherine S. cat. no. 177 

Freundlich, Otto cat. no. 178 

Giacometti, Alberto cat. nos. 85, 175 

Gonzalez, Julio cat. no. 84 

Helion, Jean cat. no. 190 

Henri, Florence cat. no. 97 

Kandinsky, Vasily cat. nos. 2-10, 

n-^9. 3i> 36-4°. 4*. 45. 47. 48, 51, 
53-58, 6o, 62, 66-68, S6-95, 105, 
107-130, 136-171, 174-176, 193, 220, 
223,226 



Klee, Paul cat. nos. 65, 104 

Kupka, Frantisek cat. nos. 69-80 

Leger, Fernand cat. no. 181 

Lipnitzki cat. nos. 98-100 

Magnelli, Alberto cat. nos. 134, 135, 
186, 194 

Man Ray cat. no. 96 

Michaux, Henri cat. no. 106 

Miro, Joan cat. nos. 59, 61, 103, 131 

Mondrian, Piet cat. no. 50 

Mortensen, Richard cat. nos. 197, 198 

Xicholson, Ben cat. no. 46 

Pevsner, Antoine cat. no. 179, 180 

Picasso, Pablo cat. nos. 63, 8ia-b 

Reichel, Hans cat. no. i33a-l 

Rousseau, Henri cat. nos. 1-2, 173 

Spender, Stephen cat. no. 43 

Stael, Nicolas de cat. no. 199 

Taeuber-Arp, Sophie cat. no. 187 

Vantongerloo, Georges cat. no. 184 

Yezelay, Paule cat. no. 18S 

Yieira da Silva, Maria-Helena 
cat. no. 195 



Z64 



PHOTOGRAPHIC CREDITS 



Color 

Courtesy Max Bill, Zurich: cat. no. 154 

Carmelo Guadagno: cat. nos. 6, 108, 

Carmelo Guadagno and David Heald: 
cat. no. 94 

David Heald: cat. no. 117 

Fotoatelier Gerhard Hovvald, Bern: 
cat. no. 67 

Walter Klein, Essen; courtesy Kunst- 
sammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 
Diisseldorf: cat. no. 105 

Courtesy Galerie Adrien Maeght, Paris: 
cat. nos. 86, 130, 148 

Robert E. Mates: cat. no. 29 

Courtesy Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris: 
cat. nos. 7, 62, 116, 12.7, 134, 139, 168 

Courtesy Museum Boymans-van 
Beuningen, Rotterdam: cat. no. 53 

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, 
Seibu Takanawa: cat. no. 47 

Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art: 
cat. no. 44 

Courtesy The Phillips Collection, 
Washington, D.C.: cat. no. 57 

Courtesy Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne: 
cat. no. 60 

Courtesy Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc.; 
© Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., 1984: 
cat. no. 91 

Courtesy Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, 
Lugano, Switzerland: cat. no. 151 



Black and White 

Courtesy Anni Albers and the Josef Albers 
Foundation: cat. nos. 52, 185 

Courtesy Fondation Arp, Clamart: 
cat. no. 175 

Courtesy Artcurial, Paris; © A.D.A.G.P., 
Paris, 1985: cat. no. 183 

Courtesy The Baltimore Museum of Art: 
cat. no. 93 

Courtesy Max Bill, Zurich: cat. no. 
1S4 

Courtesy Davlyn Gallery, New York: 
cat. no. 24 

Courtesy Collection Domela: cat. no. 189 

Courtesy Esbjerg Kunstforening, Esbjerg, 
Denmark: cat. no. 196 

Courtesy Galerie Beyeler, Basel: cat. nos. 
136, 146 

Courtesy Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris: 
cat. nos. 195, 199 

Courtesy Galerie Jan Krugier, Paris: 
cat. no. 63 

Courtesy Galerie Adrien Maeght, Paris: 
cat. nos. 103, 155, 160, 164 

Claude Gaspari; © Galerie Maeght, Paris: 
cat. no. 143 

Carmelo Guadagno: cat. no. 190 

Courtesy Haags Gemeentemuseum, 
The Hague: cat. no. 50 

Peter Heman, Basel: cat. no. 153 

J. Hyde, Paris: cat. no. 49 

Luc Joubert, Paris: cat. nos. 133a, 
133c, 199 

Courtesy M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., 
New York: cat. no. 27 



265 



Courtesy Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd 
Kreeger: cat. no. 2.8 

Courtesy Kunstmuseum Basel: 
cat. no. 187 

Courtesy Kupferstichkabinett, Kunst- 
museum Basel: cat. no. 85 

Courtesy Offentliche Kunstsammlung, 
Kunstmuseum Basel: cat. no. 15a 

Courtesy Kunstmuseum Bern: 
cat. no. 150 

Courtesy Paul Klee-Stiftung, Kunstmuseum 
Bern; © COSMOPRESS, Geneva, and 
A.D.A.G.P., Paris, 1985: cat. no. 65 

Courtesy Latner Family Collection: 
cat. no. 149 

Robert E. Mates: cat. nos. 2.1, 15, 40, 
48, 51, 58, 81, 89, izo, 140, 147, 157, 
158,163,179 

Jacques Mer, Antibes; courtesy Musee 
National Fernand Leger,Biot: cat. no. 181 

Courtesy Achim Moeller Fine Art Limited, 
New York: cat. no. 142. 

Photo Muller: cat. no. 133b 

Courtesy Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris: cat. nos. 
i-4, 8-10, 15-10, 23, 26, 31, 31, 34-39, 41, 
41, 54-56, 59, 66, 68-80, 87, 88, 90, 91, 
95-102, 106, 107, 109-113, 115, 119, 111, 
112, 124, 125, 128, 129, 132, 135, 137, 138, 
144, 145, 156, 161, 165, 169-174, 176-178, 
182, 193, 194, 198; p. 258 

Courtesy Musee National du Louvre, 
Paris: cat. nos. 11-14 

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York: cat. nos. 61, 84 

Courtesy Museum Moderner Kunst, 
Vienna: cat. no. 180 



Hans Petersen: cat. no. 197 

Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art: 
cat. no. 64 

Photo Routhier, Paris: cat. no. 126 

Courtesy Arnold A. Saltzman: 
cat. no. 141 

Courtesy Fotostudio Staatsgalerie 
Stuttgart: cat. no. 30 

Courtesy Stadtische Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus, Munich: cat. no. 118 

Soichi Sunami, New York: cat. no. 131 

Marc Vaux, Paris: cat. no. 186 

Etienne Bertrand Weill, Courbevoie: 
cat. no. 83 

Courtesy Association-Fondation Christian 
et Yvonne Zervos, Vezelay: cat. nos. 
45, 18S 

Figures in Christian Derouet*s text 

Courtesy Fondation Arp, Clamart: fig. 16 

Courtesy Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris: 
figs. 1, 31 

Courtesy Kunsthaus Zurich: fig. 14 

Georges Martin; courtesy Librairie 
Flammarion, Paris: fig. 13 

Robert E. Mates: fig. n 

Courtesy Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris: figs. 
2-10, 19,21,23-31,33 

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York: fig. 12 

Courtesy Bill J. Strehorn, Dallas: fig. 22 

Figures in Vivian Endicott Barnett's text 

Courtesy Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 
Buffalo, New York: fig. 27 

Courtesy Galerie Beyeler, Basel: fig. 1 



Courtesy Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris: 
fig. 6 

Courtesy Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd 
Kreeger: fig. 18 

Courtesy Galerie Maeght, Paris: fig. 10 

Courtesy M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., 
New York: figs. 19, 23, 32 

Courtesy Offentliche Kunstsammlung, 
Kunstmuseum Basel; © COSMOPRESS, 
Geneva, and A.D.A.G.P., Paris, 1985: 

fig. 18 

Robert E. Mates: figs. 14, 37, 45 
Courtesy Menil Foundation, Houston: 
fig- 5 

Courtesy Moderna Museet, Stockholm: 
fig- 47 

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York: fig. 56 

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art 
Library, New York: fig. 9 

Courtesy Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Pans: 
figs. 25, 33-35,41, 51, 52 

Courtesy Art, Prints and Photographs 
Division, The New York Public Library, 
Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations: 
fig. 20 

Courtesy General Research Division, 
The New York Pubic Library, Astor, 
Lenox and Tilden Foundations: figs. 3, 7, 
11-13, 15-17, 21, 22, 24, 26, 30, 
31, 38-41, 43, 44, 46, 49, 50, 53, 54 

Courtesy The Phillips Collection, 
Washington, D.C.: fig. 29 

Courtesy Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam: 
fig. 2 

Courtesy Association-Fondation Christian 
et Yvonne Zervos, Vezelay: fig. 8 



2.66 



KANDINSKY 



IN MUNICH: 1896-1914 



RUSSIAN AND BAUHAUS YEARS 
1915-1933 

IN PARIS: 1934-1944 



General Commissioner 
Guest Curators 



Project Coordinator 

Exhibition Coordinator 

Editor 

Project Sponsors 



Participating Museums 



Thomas M. Messer 

Peg Weiss 

Clark V. Poling 

Christian Derouet 

Vivian Endicott Barnett 

Susan B. Hirschfeld 

Carol Fuerstein 

National Endowment for the Humanities 

National Endowment for the Arts 

Federal Republic of Germany 

Philip Morris Incorporated 

Lufthansa German Airlines 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 

Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich 

The High Museum of Art, Atlanta 

Kunsthaus Zurich 

Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 

Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna 



267 



Exhibition 85/1 

6,000 copies of this catalogue, designed by 
Malcolm Grear Designers and typeset by 
Schooley Graphics/Craftsman Type Inc., 
have been printed by Eastern Press in 
January 1985 for the Trustees of The 
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation on 
the occasion of the exhibition Kandinsky 
in Paris: 1934-1944. 



Z6S